The novel opens with Christian Trent, the Earl of Markham (a member of the Libertine Scholars)finding himself in a brothel that he frequents. He has woken with a pounding head as if he has a hangover. He is accused of bringing a Duke's daughter to the brothel and raping her. He escapes the brothel, but the Duke's sons find him and throw him on a ship sailing for Canada. He arrives in York, Canada with no money and no identification. He was taken in by Matthew Pearson and when Pearson and his wife died in a blizzard, he took their daughter, Lily as his ward. While he was in York, Canada, the locals nicknamed him Devil Scarface due to the burns and injuries he suffered in the battle of Waterloo. Christian is returning to England to reclaim his honor and needs a governess for Lily.
Sarah (Serena) Cooper is the daughter of the Duke of Hastings that had been in North America for two years. She is being accused of murdering her abusive husband and has escaped the men wishing to prosecute her from Virginia to Canada. Now, she is wants to return to England to escape them. Sarah has loved Christian since she was 15 and watched him at a ball in the shadows at her father's house.
Both characters are attempting to heal from their tragic pasts. Christian is a tortured soul that is lacking in self confidence because of his scarring. Serena is attempting to put the abuse she suffered behind her. Serena does not see the scars, she just sees the man that Christian was and still is. They share a true passion.
This is the first book in a series. The connecting link is a villain that is attempting to destroy all six of the Libertine Scholars. The men are attempting to figure out the link they all share. I can't wait for the others!
I give this book 4 out of 5 stars.
I received this book as an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.