Publisher: Random House Publishing Group, Loveswept
Date of publication: February 20th, 2018
Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance
Series: The Disgraced Lords
A Kiss of Lies – Book 1
A Promise of More – Book 2
A Touch of Passion – Book 3
A Whisper of Desire – Book 4
A Taste of Seduction – Book 5
A Dream of Redemption – Book 8
Book synopsis (from Goodreads):
A forbidden love and a chilling mystery tease the senses in this sensuous historical romance from the USA Today bestselling author of A Kiss of Lies and A Love to Remember.
Bookish and independent Lady Helen Hawkestone is expected to marry well. But, having grown up with warring parents, the institution holds little appeal. The trick, she realizes, is to marry for love—a task that’s easier said than done. Only while Helen is raising funds for her do-gooder sister’s orphanage does she meet a man who arouses her curiosity. Lowborn and yet so dignified that Helen can’t help but try to elicit a response, Clary Homeward is an enigma—a heart-stopping, body-stirring, forget-her-social-upbringing enigma.
A single offense against a noblewoman such as Lady Helen would ruin a man like Clary. Her sister, Marisa, rescued him from hellish poverty and employs him with her charity work. Try as he might to push her away, Helen tempts him to want things he could never have. But when girls from the orphanage start disappearing, destined for a grim fate Clary knows all too well, Helen insists on helping. And soon Clary wonders whether something more were not just possible but inevitable—even right.
Trigger Warning: talk of past sexual abuse, child trafficking
When I saw the cover of A Dream of Redemption, I immediately judged the book. Yes, I am guilty of the old saying “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” I knew that this book was a historical romance from the blurb and the fact that I reviewed A Night of Forever. I assumed that it would be one of those books that would be light on plot and heavy on sex. Oh, was I proven wrong. A Dream of Redemption is not only about the power of love but healing after abuse. This was a book that brought tears to my eyes several times and made me laugh out loud.
A Dream of Redemption takes place in Regency England. I have read a lot of books for this period and I can say, without a shadow of a doubt, the author knows her stuff. She did her research and I thank her for that. The division between classes was vividly detailed. I thought the whole scene with the Duke and Clary was very telling and true to that era. Broke my heart to read it.
The plot for A Dream of Redemption was not an easy one to read. The book explores child exploitation, child sexual abuse, and human trafficking. Clary is an ex-child prostitute who overcame his past. He works for Marissa, overseeing orphanages. He is happy in his life and he avoids any type of relationship. He considers himself damaged because of the abuse he experienced as a child. But, Helen (who is Marissa’s sister) makes him feel things that he thought he would never feel. He tries to keep away from Helen but events keep throwing them together. The Duke would never allow his sister-in-law to marry a commoner much less an ex-prostitute. But fate has a funny way of throwing people together. When Helen’s life is threatened by the same people who are kidnapping children from one of her sister’s orphanages, Clary realizes that he keeping his feelings from Helen might be a mistake.
Helen was a woman who knew what she wanted and she wanted Clary. Honestly, the only reason I think she wanted him, to begin with, was because he ignored her. He was something that she needed to figure out. She did try to press Marissa for his information. Marissa told her “Stop asking me. You need to ask him about his past“. That fascination grew into love during the book. I liked that Helen was a woman who knew what she wants and who she didn’t want. I also liked that she was willing to do anything to be with Clary. She didn’t care about class. All she knew is that she loved him and wanted to be with him.
Clary broke my heart. I liked that the author chose to gradually reveal what happened to Clary and his brother. Everything Clary did was for his younger brother. He endured things so his brother would be spared the same fate as him. I wanted to reach through the book and hug young Clary. He couldn’t have any meaningful relations because of what was done to him. He thought that Helen would be disgusted by his past.
The secondary characters were very well written and added depth to this story. I like it when secondary characters are so well written that you start to care (or hate in this case) them. I also liked that these characters did not overwhelm the book. I loved that the secondary characters got what they deserved.
The secondary plotline, with the orphanage, was very well written. I did some research while reading this book and found out that children going missing in this period was very common. Very few people cared about what happened to those children. It was refreshing to see a fictional character go above and beyond what society expected them too.
The romance between Clary and Helen was beautiful to read. It was a push/pull relationship for most of the book. Clary tried to keep Helen at arm’s length and Helen chased Clary. In some books, I would have rolled my eyes and said to myself “Desperate” but not this book.
The sex that Clary and Helen had been hot. Now, I shouldn’t be saying Regency England and hot sex in the same sentence but it was. The author was wise enough to save Helen and Clary’s sexual exploits until the latter half of the book. Loved it!!
The end of the book was great. The author resolved all storylines in ways that made me very happy. I loved the epilogue. Just reading that made me have a huge grin.
Pros of A Dream of Redemption:
A) Not your typical romance
B) Helen’s dedication to helping find the missing children
Cons of A Dream of Redemption:
A) The reason why Clary became a child prostitute
B) Lord Fairfax
C) Helen’s upbringing
I would give A Dream of Redemption a rating of Adult. I would recommend that no one under the age of 20 read this book. While there is no language, there is explicit sex scenes and violence. There are also triggers with this book. They are talk about past sexual abuse, child abuse, and child trafficking.
I would recommend A Dream of Redemption to family and friends but I would include a warning about the triggers and sex scenes. This is a book that I would reread.
I would like to thank Random House Publishing Group, Loveswept, and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review A Dream of Redemption.
All opinions stated in this review of A Dream of Redemption are mine.
**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**