Title: A Bride by Moonlight
Author: Liz Carlyle
May Contain Spoilers
This is the first time I’ve read a book written by Liz Carlyle. After I finished it, I immediately wanted to read The Bride Wore Pearls, which features Lazonby and Anisha, two of the secondary characters from A Bride by Moonlight. I enjoyed Carlyle’s writing style, and I’m always up for a good historical romance, which in the case of this title is Victorian England. While I have a few quibbles about the pacing of this book, I did like the characters immensely, especially Napier. Lisette was harder for me to warm up to, but considering all the baggage she has been dragging around since the death of the father and her sister, that was understandable.
Lisette blames Lord Lazonby for the deaths of both her father and her sister. Having returned to London from the States, where she was raised by her aunt and uncle, she has dreamed of only one thing – revenge! She has drawn comfort and strength from the thought of getting back at Lazonby, for plotting to make him suffer as painfully as she has. He stole everything from her, and she is going to collect her pound of flesh. When attempts to reason with, and then bribe, the straight-laced assistant police commissioner, Napier, fail to propel him to arrest Lazonby, a man he considers the vilest of criminals, she sets out to destroy Lazonby’s life by herself.
A murder forces them together two years later, and Napier believes that Lisette might be the murderer, but in a switch of loyalties, she and Lord Lazonby are now providing air-tight alibies for each other. Napier is skeptical, to say the least, and he’s determined to get to the bottom of both the murder and his two chief suspects’ sudden friendship. Before he gets far into his investigation, he discovers that he is now the heir of a prosperous estate. Estranged from his father’s family for his entire life, he has no interest in getting to know his grandfather, Henry Tarleton, Viscount Duncaster, or any of his other relatives, better. He is forced to visit the estate to investigate the suspicious death of his uncle, though. In an attempt to foil the matchmaking machinations of his scheming aunt, and to keep Lisette right where he can see her, he forces Lisette to pose as his betrothed. Once he arrives at Burlingame, he begins to question everything he believed about both his family and Lisette.
I loved Napier. What a hottie. He’s analytical and capable, and he doesn’t give a fig about his inheritance. He loves his job with the police, and has no intention of giving it up. His superiors aren’t going to give him a choice about the matter, though, and he is urged to do his duty and take up his rightful position in society. Though Napier is also stubborn and can be harsh, he also has a heart. He treated Lisette coldly, though respectfully, at the start of the book, but by the end, he was the first to accept that his feelings for her had changed, and that he couldn’t live without her. I loved that about him. Once he realized how he felt, he also realized that he had to tread carefully. Lisette’s drive for revenge left her twisted and emotionally fragile, and he was terrified of pushing her away from him.
Once I understood Lisette, I liked her, too. She is so strong and so fierce, and she won’t let anyone hurt her again. Losing her family, and then being shuttled off to America, away from everything she had ever known, almost destroyed her. Her aunt and uncle only agreed to take her in because they were paid to do so. As time passed, causing Lazonby’s downfall kept Lisette going. All of her dreams, all of her emotions, were cast aside for her all consuming need for revenge. I believed that Lisette was ruthless enough to murder a man in cold blood, just as Napier did, and that made her a very interesting heroine, indeed!
The romance between Napier and Lisette developed slowly and realistically, given their mutual suspicion of each other. As they spent more time together, though, it was obvious that they were a perfect match. They complimented each other, and gave strength to each other. Their attraction was unrelenting, and after they got to know each other better, their mutual respect made the romance work for me. They still didn’t trust each other, and they were keeping big, big secrets from each other, but with the foundation of respect they had built, I knew that they could overcome all of the other obstacles in their lives.
The mystery is fun and I didn’t see the major plot twist coming. My one quibble with A Bride by Moonlight is that it felt too long, especially near the end.
Review copy provided by Bewitching Book Tours
About the author
A lifelong Anglophile, Liz Carlyle cut her teeth reading gothic novels under the bedcovers by flashlight. She is the author of over twenty historical romances, including several New York Times bestsellers. Liz travels incessantly, ever in search of the perfect setting for her next book. Along with her genuine romance-hero husband and four very fine felines, she makes her home in North Carolina.