Review – Heiress in Red Silk by Madeline Hunter

About the Book:

In one life-changing windfall, Rosamund Jameson goes from struggling shopkeeper to heiress—and co-owner of a new business. Not only will her sudden fortune allow her to move her millinery shop to fashionable London, but Rosamund will be able to provide her younger sister with a proper entry into society. The only hitch for resourceful Rosamund is her arrogant, infuriatingly handsome business partner…

Kevin Radnor is shocked that his late uncle, the Duke of Hollinburgh, bequeathed half his company to a total stranger—worse, a beguiling beauty who can only hinder his enterprise. But Rosamund insists on an active, equal partnership, so Kevin embarks on a plan: a seduction that will lead to a marriage of convenience, giving Rosamund the social status she needs, and guaranteeing him the silent partner he desires. Yet as this charismatic gentleman sets his flirtation in motion, he begins to wonder who is seducing whom—and if he can learn to share himself body and mind, without losing his heart . . . 

 DIRECT AMAZON US BUY LINK – Heiress in Red Silk                                      DIRECT AMAZON US BUY LINK Heiress for Hire (Book 1)

My Review:

I received a complimentary copy of this book.

Rosamund Jameson is the orphaned daughter of a tenant farmer, who now has to earn a living to support herself and her younger sister, Lily.  Her strange career path led her to caring for a seriously ill prostitute, with that care leading to a grateful nobleman providing her with a small income.  Rosamund used that money to establish a millinery shop in Richmond.  When she is later approached by an investigator, and advised that the same nobleman has left her a fortune, Rosamund heads off to London to fulfill her dream of opening a shop there.  She immediately falls under the suspicion of the Radnor family, who were expecting their relative to bequeath his fortune to them, not a stranger.  In particular, the duke’s grandson, is greatly impacted by Rosamund’s inheritance.

Kevin Radnor is an inventor and a businessman.  He had a good relationship with his grandfather, the late Duke Hollinburgh, in fact, the duke was half owner of Kevin’s company.  When Kevin learns that his grandfather has left his half of the company to Rosamund, he is incensed.  Kevin has invented something that will greatly improve steam engines, and he can’t risk any outsider becoming privy to his top secret idea.  Theft is common in this field, so much so, that Kevin has even refused to have his invention patented for fear of someone else bringing his idea to fruition.

Kevin is an interesting, unorthodox man.  He is a gentleman, and his good birth makes him welcome in society, yet he’s not content to be idle.  His mind is constantly active, often seeming to send him into an almost trancelike state.  He’s his own man, not afraid to stand up to the slings from his mostly awful family.  He loves sex, but brags that he’s never been enthralled by a woman, thus his encounters are usually of the kind involving financial compensation.  He’s often blunt, and has a quick temper.  His initial attempt to have Rosamund sign over all decision making in their company to him meets with failure, so he decides to stick close to her until he has another plan.

Though Rosamund has not had a formal education, she is far from stupid.  She intends to remain a full partner in the company without ceding any authority, or selling any part off, until she learns all about it.  She also hires tutors to teach her how to speak correctly, to dance, and to complete her education.  She rents a fashionable home and purchases a new wardrobe.  In the back of Rosamund’s mind is the secret thought that maybe now she will be worthy of the man she fell in love with years ago, a man who was then too far above her socially for them to have a future together.  In the meantime, she will accept Kevin’s assistance, but will not give an inch in regard to the company.

The armed truce between Rosamund and Kevin eventually turns to a mutual respect, and a friendly partnership.  Their underlying attraction for each other soon moves from the background and flares into a blazing physical relationship.  Ever pragmatic, Kevin decides that a convenient marriage might solve his fear of ever having his company invaded by outsiders.  Two sensible people agree to a marriage which is more like a merger, albeit with fringe benefits.  Rosamund and Kevin do generate the steam!  All is well for a short time, until trust becomes an issue, unforgivable words are spoken, and the fledgling relationship is broken.  Despite their flaws, I really liked this couple, and I was able to observe their falling in love before they realized it themselves.  HEIRESS IN RED SILK can be read as a standalone, though I do recommend book one, HEIRESS FOR HIRE, (See my review of Heiress for Hire here) to provide more details about the duke and his mysterious legacy.  The mystery of his death has not yet been solved and it more than likely will be revealed in the final book.  HEIRESS IN RED SILK is a book I enjoyed reading, and recommend for those who enjoy a steamy romance, with characters who are strong and complicated.    ~Rose

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