By Sarah M. Eden
When Persephone Lancaster receives a marriage proposal from the ill-tempered Duke of Kielder, she refuses—and then reconsiders. The obscene sum of money he’s offering Persephone would save her family from ruin. With her characteristic optimism, she travels to the far reaches of Northumberland to wed a greatly feared stranger. Lodged deep in a thick forest infested with wild dogs, the Duke’s castle is as cold and forbidding as the Duke himself, a man with terrible scars on his body and his soul. But the Duke’s steely determination to protect his heart at all costs is challenged by his growing attachment to his lovely and gentle bride. With caring persistence, Persephone attempts to pierce the Duke’s armor and reach the man beneath. Yet he cannot tolerate such exposure, and his repeated rejections take their toll. But when grave danger arises, the Duke realizes he must face the risk of revealing his true feelings or lose the woman he cannot live without.
I was a little surprised at how much I enjoyed this book, though in retrospect, I probably shouldn’t have been. It’s a very beauty and the beast-like retelling, though it can also said to be a retelling of the mythology surrounding Persephone and Hades. I really enjoyed that not-so-subtle nudge. It actually endeared this story to me even more. Persephone was a good character, not given to being pitying, but also finding her situation difficult, she was realistic and also innocent and exactly what Adam needed. Adam himself was a great “Beast” character, being scarred and having a decidedly terrible reputation that scares the wits out of almost everyone he meets. I loved the interplay and slow blossoming love between the two of them. The awkwardness displayed by Adam as he wishes to open himself to Persephone, but not knowing quite how, is one of the best parts of the novel. I highly recommend this novel as a clean book as well as a good romance.
I give it a 4.25 out of 5