Set against the backdrop of Victorian London’s dangerous East End, a young woman’s disappearance brings together a wounded war veteran and the one woman who can see beyond his scars.
As a probationary nurse at Whitechapel’s Samaritan Hospital, Ada Hamilton is required to remain unmarried and devote her energies to helping those in need, but when her sister goes missing, she becomes obsessed with solving the mystery of her disappearance. A menacing aristocrat may hold the answers, but it is his friend, scarred Afghan War veteran William Selsby, a man with questionable intentions and haunting grey eyes, who may hold the key to her heart.
William Selsby returned wounded and broken from Afghanistan to find his betrothed married to another man. Eight years later, desperate for a woman’s touch, he accepts a wager from a debauched nobleman, winning the chance to take the man’s mistress off his hands. But the woman he encounters in Whitechapel overturns all his expectations and may be the one person who can see something worth cherishing in the man he has become, wounds and all.
‘Wanton Wager’ is the second novella in the Whitechapel Wagers series. Set in Victorian London at the time of the ‘Ripper Atrocities’ it succinctly conveys the seedier side of nineteenth century Whitechapel and the underlying danger from a serial killer who terrorizes its inhabitants.
The wager which Will Selsby reluctantly agrees to and wins leads him to a vibrant, if slightly sordid public house in Whitechapel. Will is war-weary and mentally and physically scarred. Ada lives above the pub and works tirelessly as a probationary nurse at the local charity hospital. She is at her wit’s end searching for her missing sister. Ada and Will’s unconventional meeting at the pub reveals surprising attraction and empathy between them despite Will’s questionable motives for being there.
There are some lovely touches in this novella like the sinister quality of Lord Frederick Ashdowne given that there is a serial killer on the loose. Ada and Will’s sizzling chemistry and the couple’s sensuous love scenes.
The vivid mannerisms of the secondary characters give the story ambience and depth. You can hear the unruly characters in the pub and feel the disdain of the heartlessness aristocrats.
This is a romantic love story of two characters that are easy to like with an interesting plot and atmospheric setting. It is definitely worth reading.
I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars