‘True Pretenses’ by Rose Lerner

tp rlSTORY: Never steal a heart unless you can afford to lose your own.

Lively St. Lemeston, Book 2

Through sheer force of will, Ash Cohen raised himself and his younger brother from the London slums to become the best of confidence men. He’s heartbroken to learn Rafe wants out of the life, but determined to grant his brother his wish.

It seems simple: find a lonely, wealthy woman. If he can get her to fall in love with Rafe, his brother will be set. There’s just one problem—Ash can’t take his eyes off her.

Heiress Lydia Reeve is immediately drawn to the kind, unassuming stranger who asks to tour her family’s portrait gallery. And if she married, she could use the money from her dowry for her philanthropic schemes. The attraction seems mutual and oh so serendipitous—until she realizes Ash is determined to matchmake for his younger brother.

When Lydia’s passionate kiss puts Rafe’s future at risk, Ash is forced to reveal a terrible family secret. Rafe disappears, and Lydia asks Ash to marry her instead. Leaving Ash to wonder—did he choose the perfect woman for his brother, or for himself?

REVIEW: Ash Cohen and his brother Rafe are long time swindlers and two con men who have come in that proverbial “fork in the road” and must decide what both want and need to be happy and content in their lives. They either continued with the life they knew well or take a chance in the future without cons. Surviving  through cheating was enough for our hero, Ash but his brother has had enough of it and he wanted them to go straight and live honest lives, which was easier said than done.

For Ash, who had raised his brother all on his own since he was eight years old by any means necessary, be it stealing, thieving, body snatching or swindling people, he did it out of love for his brother and it hurt him deeply when Rafe decides to leave him and the only life they have known.

Alone and devastated, Ash comes to a decision that will change his life forever as he gets ready for one last swindle in which, as always, he plans to fulfill his brothers wish of living a life of no lies and pretenses.

Lydia has known politics since she was a child and when she was seventeen, she became her father’s hostess and she loved it. She enjoyed every aspect of political life and was hoping that her brother Jamie would one day be able to take the legacy their father had left them and be the leader Tories in Lively St. Lemeston needed him to be. However, Jamie had no such plans or dreams and hates politics and everything about it which disappoints Lydia greatly but she is hopeful that he may change his mind in time and in the meantime, she decides that the only way to help the Tory supporters is by possibly marrying and getting her hands on her inheritance and here is where our hero enters the scene with his scheme and the “marriage of convenience” trope may or may not take place.

And if you think Rose Lerner weaves an old, tried and true trope of two people coming together in a marriage of convenience for their own or mutual benefit, you have another thing coming. She has so many curve balls coming your way that you’ll be shaking your head and saying, well I didn’t see that one coming!

I was impressed with the first book, ‘Sweet Disorder’ and was looking forward to ‘True Pretenses’ and while I loved the first book, this one had one thing that bothered me. It was the ages of the main characters that I had trouble with. Ash and Lydia were thirty years old and Rafe a few years younger so as the story progressed I just couldn’t “see” them as old as they were, however through their dialogue, inner as well I had no trouble picturing them in their mid twenties and once I adjusted their ages in my mind, I had no problem with the story.

This is the second book in Rose Lerner’s new series Lively St. Lemeston in which she introduces her readers with some interesting politics of the day and families in a town of Lively St. Lemeston. And that’s what I love about Rose Lerner stories. She digs up these unique and flawed characters and by placing them in ordinary, everyday situations of their time, lets her readers experience humanity in its rawest form.

This is a story that touches on so many levels at how a human psyche works and reacts to what life throws in its path and I highly recommend you pick it up and enjoy this unique and heartwarming story.

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the author

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