Title: Lord of Chance
Author: Erica Ridley
Series: Rogues to Riches #1
Genre: Regency Romance
Length: Short novel
Available: 11th April
Disguised as a country miss, Charlotte Devon flees London, desperate to leave her tattered reputation behind. In Scotland, her estranged father’s noble blood will finally make her a respectable debutante. Except she finds herself accidentally wed to a devil-may-care rogue with a sinful smile. He’s the last thing she needs…and everything her traitorous heart desires.
Charming rake Anthony Fairfax is on holiday to seek his fortune…and escape his creditors. When an irresistible Lady Luck wins him in a game of chance—and a slight mishap has them leg-shackled by dawn—the tables have finally turned in his favor. But when past demons catch up to them, holding on to new love will mean destroying their dreams forever.
The single title 2017 release is an expanded “Author Edition” of the story that first appeared in the Scandal’s Daughters anthology.
Source: ARC from the author via NetGalley
This is another enjoyable start to an Erica Ridley series, which is readable and fun, with engaging characters and some interesting mishaps. However, for some reason it didn’t quite catch my attention as much as I’d hoped and I found myself distracted from time to time. This is likely more about me than the book, because I still can’t put my finger on why.
I liked both Anthony and Charlotte, even though at times their behaviour either baffled me or made me want to shake them. Anthony’s a gambler who has been supporting his entire family for years on the turn of a card. He may at first appear carefree and charming and exceedingly easy-going, but there is much more to him than his rapscallion ways. He feels his responsibilities deeply and wants to be worthy of Charlotte, even if he does put his foolish feet in his mouth a time or two.
Charlotte was a bit more of a mystery. She seems determined to join the card game at the start of the book – even though she doesn’t need more money, and in fact would do well not to lose the little she has. This behaviour is never brought up again, so it did seem a bit misleading. She’s also been staying alone in an inn for an indeterminate length of time. Which even in Scotland would surely have raised a few eyebrows. I was also surprised by how naive she was in certain areas – most particularly regarding her long-lost father.
Speaking of that long-lost father, the way she blithely talks about him to all and sundry at a time like this was rather baffling. The idea that her parents are estranged and her mother lost track of her father, and yet it’s not until much later that she tells Anthony she’s illegitimate… that seemed a little far-fetched to me and not all period appropriate. And yes, I can understand her getting angry at Anthony for assuming a thing or two, but the way she told her story definitely implied she had some experience in some areas, even if it wasn’t by choice. I might also have expected her mother to have taught her a few things rather than keep her entirely ignorant.
But away from that, Charlotte does seem fairly intelligent and is definitely mature in the way she views Anthony and the life they may or may not lead together. She and Anthony actually make a lovely pair, even if he is determined to find his own way out of his mess and not rely on her at all.
The plot, for me, was a little bit of a drag. Mostly because of all the travelling. It’s not that it’s dull, but I felt like I was always waiting for something to happen. I was also surprised that no one in his family thought about going to his sister and her many friends for help.
Overall this was an okay read for me. The characters are fun, but the plot felt a little stretched and I struggled to maintain my interest at times. There was a tiny hint of fairytale magic about some of the resolution, but it also had a practical twist that I appreciated. I look forward to seeing where the rest of the series heads.
Lord of Chance is out April 11th.
Visit Erica Ridley for more details.