Lord of Regrets by Sabrina Darby

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Despite the love and sensuous addiction they shared, Lord Marcus Templeton could never marry Natasha Polinoff. Not while he remained under his grandfather’s vise-like control. But when Natasha announces her out-of-wedlock pregnancy—which would destroy his inheritance—Templeton explodes into a rage. One that sends Natasha running into the unforgiving night, never to return…

Now five years have passed, and Lord Templeton has finally found his beloved. And this time, the viscount will have her.

However, Natasha has settled into a new life with her young daughter. Lord Templeton’s arrival fills her with terrible fear . . . and undeniable longing. He has come to claim her. Yet even as her body still longs for his touch, her anger still burns. She is no mere possession. But Lord Templeton will do whatever it takes to bring her back into his arms and back into his bed. Even if it means resorting to blackmail to make Natasha his wife…

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Publisher and Release Date: Entangled: Scandalous, September 2014

RHR Classifications:

Time and Setting: 1808 London and 1813 English countryside
Genre: Historical Romance
Heat Level: 2
Reviewer Rating: 4 stars

Review by Maria Almaguer

This is an affecting novel, and its social intricacies, emotional entanglements, and depth of feeling bring to mind Edith Wharton’s dramatic novels – without the tragic ending (thank goodness!). There is a lot of angst in this romance, and while I usually prefer more light-hearted stories, this is so firmly centered on the two protagonists throughout that I didn’t mind.

Sabrina Darby is one of my favorite voices in historical romance and this is her first full-length historical. But I will read anything she writes because of her clear voice and style, emotionally gripping stories, and excellent pacing.

The story begins in London in 1808, and Marcus and Natasha are lovers. She is his mistress and is pampered with beautiful jewels and gorgeous gowns. Though she is descended from Russian nobility, her family disowned her when she came under Marcus’ protection. When she becomes unexpectedly pregnant, he is shocked and angered. He hopes to adhere to his rich grandfather’s rigid codicils which decree that he marry respectably before the age of thirty and not have children out of wedlock, as did his wastrel father before him.

In an impulsive decision that reverberates throughout and sets the tone for the entire novel, Marcus sends for a surgeon to end the pregnancy only to change his mind minutes later. But it’s too late. Shocked and fearful, Natasha flees and he spends the next five years searching for her.

Natasha is living quietly and modestly in a tiny country village with her young daughter, under a false name and identity as a widow, when Marcus finally discovers them. Relieved and happy to find her safe, and hoping to woo her back, he is impatient to resume their relationship. Natasha, however, is reluctant to simply erase years of broken trust and, in another desperate and impulsive maneuver, he blackmails her.

Natasha is extremely resentful and this, of course, makes for a shaky and unstable beginning to their fragile marriage as she feels well and truly trapped, dependent on Marcus. Their encounters and daily life are fraught with animosity and difficult to read—she refuses him in her bed and spurns all attempts at peace and reconciliation. When Marcus can’t take any more, he leaves England, distraught, on a diplomatic mission for his grandfather.

But while Marcus displays weakness of character at the beginning of the novel – in his hasty decisions as well as his dependence on his grandfather – he grows and matures throughout the story as he determines to get out from under his grandfather’s thumb, becoming financially independent as well as his own man in the process. He seeks happiness on his own terms and now his only desire is to convince Natasha that he has changed.

To say this book is emotionally wrenching is an understatement and Ms Darby deftly handles what could have been a heavy-handed storyline. Some readers might feel that Natasha keeps Marcus at a distance for far too long but I didn’t think so. To his credit, Marcus was doing the best that he felt he could do, but it just wasn’t the right time for them. They needed time apart to realize and accept their love and devotion.

Despite their flaws, both Natasha and Marcus are an unforgettable hero and heroine. Yes, this is a heart-wrenching romance, but there is also a thread of hope that weaves its way beautifully throughout the entire story. They are real people, imperfect, and they are hopelessly drawn to each other. Even when they think their relationship might – perhaps should – end, neither of them can bring themselves to do so.

It’s a dark story and there are hints of other stories to come featuring the secondary characters, including Marcus’ paragon of a cousin Charlotte, his mysterious half brother Gerard, and the Earl of Parrington and his sister, Lady Alinora.

Lord of Regrets is a raw and real story about two broken souls who must find the courage and trust to love each other fully once again.

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