I chose this book out of my digital to-be-read pile on a whim, looking for something light and quick. Well, it was neither, but Athena’s Ordeal was exactly what I needed. Some intrigue, lovely character clashes, and a mix of rejecting the rules of the time and having to conform to them.
Sue London provides delightful, strong characters with very different natures who manage to work together despite their differences. Sabre and her duke are a lovely couple who are ignorant of love until it binds the two of them together in an unbreakable bond. Which is not to say their path is easy.
Quincy Telford, Duke of Beloin, makes one horrible mistake before he learns love’s power, and a much worse one after that, but this book is true to the romance genre in that it all comes out right in the end. At the same time, we get to travel a rough, treacherous path that offers much entertainment on the way.
There is a horrifying background to this book that the characters are trying to learn to live with and resolve. A good bit of animosity exists between the different sides in the story, making the source of the blackmail that brings Sabre and Quincy together not easy to puzzle out. The sex is also quite explicit in an oddly innocent way, or not so oddly once the truth is revealed.
I really enjoyed my time with this cast and am curious about the others in the series, both Jack and Gideon before this book and now the mostly absentee George. That dark background helps to create an environment where the gentlemen must rise above their pasts and write a new, better future for themselves…or they could choose to wallow in their histories, but the first is a far more entertaining story if Athena’s Ordeal is anything to go by. Nor do the ladies stand aside to let their gentleman figure things out on their own. The ladies don’t call their club The Haberdashers for nothing, nor do they confine themselves to traditionally female pursuits.