When Lady Hestia Cary was sixteen, she was captured by Turkish pirates. She was rescued by Alexander Sylvester Bracken, the Marquess of Tavistock. Hestia didn't know that Alexander was rescuing her because he had been the captive of Sultan Murad Bayezid and he wanted vengeance.
Four years later Alexander is the Duke of Bedford. After he has escaped his captivity, he has been using sex and laudanum to escape the demons that drive him. He has been summoned by Lady Hestia. Her cousin has declared that her father died and is claiming his title. Hestia knows that her father is not dead, but the only way to keep her safe is if she goes with Alex on the mission to find her father.
I was really torn about my feelings towards this book. On many levels, it is a classic, sweeping romance that takes you from England to the Mediterranean and back to England. There was the hero worship that Hestia had for Alex and the way it brutally crashed to returning to a strong love. I thought the book was beautifully written.
But, I felt like I was constantly being reminded of Alex's addiction to opium and what he endured in Murad's captivity. Then there was Murad. I felt like the evil sultan was more of a main character than Alex or Hestia.
I wish the focus could have been more on Alex healing rather than man-whoring, laudanum drinking character he was while Hestia was in Wales pining for him to realize he loved her.
In the end, after Hestia realizes the true brutalities that Alex suffered, her hero-worship destroyed, she realizes that Alex is a strong man because of the brutalities he survived.
I received an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher in return for an honest review.