A strong, resilient woman who learned to survive in a world of betrayal. Emma Cadbury had been an innocent, a whore, a charity worker and a surgeon. She chose a life without love until she saved a dying soldier in a charity ward.
A scarred soldier who fought to redeem himself from the horrors he’d committed. Brandon Rohan had lost himself to drugs and degradation, wanting to die, and only one person could save him. But she’d disappeared.
A love neither of them wants, and a passion so strong it could burn down the world. Now they’ve come together again, but he doesn’t remember, and she doesn’t want to. But someone is trying to kill her, and Brandon is the one man who can save her.
England in 1840, where no one is what they seem.
Seven years after our last encounter with the members of the scandalous House of Rohan, author Anne Stuart returns to nineteenth century England to bring us a fifth book in the series, Heartless, which picks up the story of the youngest Rohan, Lord Brandon, and Emma Cadbury, the woman who cared for him and saved his life following his return from war and his subsequent descent into depravity and addiction. Their relationship began in book four, Shameless, but although it’s been several years since I read that book, the author has included enough information about the couple’s backstory here for a new reader not to feel as though they have missed anything, and for the reader newly returned to the series to feel the same.
Note: This review contains spoilers for Shameless.
Captain Lord Brandon Rohan of His Majesty’s army returned from the Afghan Wars so seriously injured that he wasn’t expected to live. Emma Cadbury, formerly the youngest, most successful Madam in London, worked as a volunteer at St. Martin’s Military Hospital, and was assigned to take care of Brandon on what was believed would be his last night on earth. But Emma managed to pull Brandon back from the brink, stubbornly refusing to let him sink into death. Over the next few weeks, a subtle bond formed between the pair, as Brandon revealed things about himself he’d never told anyone, talking to Emma night after night about the war and the horrors he’d seen, endured and committed. As he regained his strength, their teasing gradually turned into gentle flirtation, until each night ended with a goodnight kiss, which Brandon insisted would give him something to live for throughout the next day.
Emma may have been a courtesan, but her experience with men was limited to the sexual act – which she normally undertook while numbed by drink or laudanum; emotions – other than distaste or disgust – were never involved. But when one of Brandon’s goodnight kisses turned into something more than a chaste peck, she panicked – terrified by the strength of her reaction to him – and didn’t return to his bedside again. After that, he was reunited with his family and, apart from one further fateful occasion, he and Emma haven’t seen each other since.
You can read the rest of this review at All About Romance.