Celia Pennifold is a young woman with a scandalous past. Her mother, Alessandra Northrope, is one of London’s famous courtesans and has primed her daughter to follow in her footsteps. At age 17, Celia ran away from that life when she was just about to make her debut and found a quiet place to live with other women and raise flowers. Celia is brought back to London when she learns of her mother’s death and is forced to deal with her mother’s estate and the pile of debt that her mother has acquired.
Celia moves into her mother’s home and finds that it is the perfect place to start her life while establishing a flower business. She is shocked to learn that she has also inherited a tenant with her mother’s home. A very young and handsome tenant that has no desire to move elsewhere. Jonathan Albrighton, is instantly fascinated with the daughter of his former landlord. He is in London on a secret mission for the government to determine who was selling political secrets during the war. He believes that Celia’s mother may have been involved with this espionage and is determined to find information on whether the rumors are true. The sparks between Jonathan and Celia ignite and Celia may be surprised to learn that she and her handsome tenant may have more in common than she originally thought.
This is the third book in the Rarest Blooms series from Madeline Hunter and was such a delicious treat to read. She is able to bring this story to life and transport the reader to a time period where life was so much simpler. The romance between Celia and Jonathan flowed easily while providing a mystery about Celia’s heritage and her mother’s possible involvement in espionage. I liked that I was also able to get an update on her past characters from this series and how their lives were progressing. I enjoyed this novel very much and I’m looking forward to her next novel which is all about Daphne.
When famed London courtesan Alessandra Northrope passes away, her daughter Celia Pennifold inherits little more than a hopelessly contaminated reputation, a house in a middle class neighborhood, and an education that prepared her to take her mother’s place the way Alessandra intended. Celia hopes to make her own life on her own terms, however, and moves into the house only to discover one more legacy—an enigmatic, handsome tenant who knows her mother’s plans for her future rather too well. It does not help that Jonathan Albrighton’s mere presence creates delicious excitements that remind her of the thrilling pleasure that Alessandra taught her to arouse in others and enjoy herself. When new claims on her mother’s estate threaten her hold on the property, she is forced to fulfill her deathbed promise to Alessandra—to give fair consideration to the future for which she was trained. Unfortunately, she discovers that the only man with whom she really wants to share the secrets of her erotic education is unsuitable for a role in any future she might claim.
Jonathan thinks he is on a simple mission to discover whether Celia’s mother left accounts of her lovers that might embarrass important men. Instead he finds himself embroiled in a mystery full of dangerous betrayals and secrets, old and new, that touch on his life as well as Celia’s. The chamber that he leases in Celia’s home becomes convenient for protecting her, but their proximity only fuels his desire to seduce the radiant, beautiful woman she has become. With his first touch and stolen kiss, he decides that she will have no lover except him, whether she considers him suitable or not.