On the trail of an aristocrat’s secret son, enquiry agent Mark Braglewicz finds his quarry in a music hall, performing as a trapeze artist with his twin sister. Graceful, beautiful, elusive, and strong, Pen Starling is like nobody Mark’s ever met—and everything he’s ever wanted. But the long-haired acrobat has an earldom and a fortune to claim.
Pen doesn’t want to live as any sort of man, least of all a nobleman. The thought of being wealthy, titled, and always in the public eye is horrifying. He likes his life now—his days on the trapeze, his nights with Mark. And he won’t be pushed into taking a title that would destroy his soul.
But there’s a killer stalking London’s foggy streets, and more lives than just Pen’s are at risk. Mark decides he must force the reluctant heir from music hall to manor house, to save Pen’s neck. Betrayed by the one man he thought he could trust, Pen never wants to see his lover again. But when the killer comes after him, Pen must find a way to forgive—or he might not live long enough for Mark to make amends.
Well, here it is, the conclusion of the Sins of the City trilogy and I have long waited for this moment. Unfortunately, it wasn’t all I had hoped it would be once the end came.
For all intents and purposes, I liked every aspect of this book except the male lead, Pen. From the moment the story opens, Pen is a whiny brat who very often thinks of no one other than himself. He doesn’t want to give up being a trapeze artist, he doesn’t want to give up his lifestyle, he doesn’t want to be “out” as it were, and he absolutely doesn’t want a title, land, and the money that comes with it. Please bear in mind, I have no idea what a “real Pen” would be dealing with emotionally and socially in this time and place so my previous assessment is based totally on this one fictional character. . . . .
Moving on . . . . .
Pen isn’t your ordinary man, and very often, he feels ill at ease in his own skin, but has found ways to help with the feelings. Pen is absolutely aware his particular proclivities won’t be accepted in “polite” society which makes his hesitancy to accept his title and position even more pronounced. To be forced into a role so watched, so judged would destroy Pen a bit more each day, and with all his being, he wants nothing to do with his family or their damnable title.
As fate would have it, Pen’s family (other than his twin!) doesn’t want him to have the title either, but there doesn’t seem to be any legal way around the issue. In fact, the family lawyer is intent on (dis)proving the claim, setting the whole thing to rights, and continuing his service to the family. Trouble is, there’s a load of proof in Pen’s favor, there’s a killer on the loose intent on killing off the heir, and Pen has recently made the acquaintance of man he could easily fall for. Yeah, there’s really nothing good about the whole hot mess.
The Bottom Line: I enjoyed every aspect of this book except Pen. Talk about a whiny human ☹ The story picks up just where the second left off, with nearly everyone in danger and a mad man on the loose willing to do anything to discredit Pen and his claim to the title. Aside from Pen, every character in this book is so entertaining and interesting. From Pen’s stern, strong twin to Mark with his mouth and rough manner to the completely wretched “proper” family members, everyone is full-bodied and engaging and keeps the story moving along at a fine pace. There is plenty of danger and intrigue to match the characters, and if Pen hadn’t been so selfish and whiny, this would have been the perfect end to a fine trilogy.