passion rating: warm
Ms. Jeffries’ latest in her Hellions of Halstead Hall series begins inauspiciously with an odd letter to readers from a character in the novel — the grandmother of the hellacious Sharpe siblings. In it, Hetty Plumtree frets about her grandson Gabriel's willful ways, speculates about his feelings for Virginia Waverly (the sister of Gabriel’s dead best friend), and confesses her own fascination with Virginia’s grandfather, the still handsome General Waverly. This awkward précis is clunky and unnecessary, and I was baffled as to its purpose.
The letter is followed by a prologue introducing readers to a young Gabriel, and explains the story that fuels this series. The Sharpe siblings’ parents died when Gabriel was seven. This is the fourthHellions book, and in each novel Gabriel and his siblings have uncovered clues that will lead them - in the fifth and last book (coming out in January of next year) - to finally understand who killed their parents and why. As I wrote in my review of the last Hellions book, How to Woo at Reluctant Lady, the series is best read in order. I do not recommend To Wed a Wild Lord as a stand-alone read. Actually, I don’t recommend To Wed a Wild Lord. It’s not a very convincing book.
Each Sharpe sibling has acted out in response to their parents’ untimely deaths and Gabriel is no exception. He has spent his adult life challenging mortality. He’s raced his horses dangerously so many times he’s earned the social sobriquet of “the Angel of Death.” In one such race, he and his best friend Roger Waverly raced a course where closely placed boulders allowed only one racer to pass and, as the two tried to “thread the needle,” Roger crashed and died. Roger’s remaining family — his younger sister Virginia and his bitter grandfather — blame Gabe for Roger’s death.
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