Through the Smoke - Brenda Novak

4.5 Fantastic Stars!!!

True confession time, my absolute guilty pleasures are books or movies from books by Jane Austin and Charlotte Bronte. I’m a sucker for them and probably have seen most movie or made for T.V. adaptions multiple times. Through the Smoke has the feel of one of those novels if they included sex and possibly a murder. Bonus right!

I was hooked from the prologue, right away you learn that the wife of the Earl of Druridge has cheated and become pregnant, he would like to kill her, he is actually racing home to confront her and when he gets there it is all a blur. There was a fire and she was killed but he is not sure if he did it or if someone else is to blame.

He wouldn’t let her win. In life, she had tied to destroy him, had hated him for knowing the leprous character beneath her pretty face. In death, she was more vengeful still.

Enter Rachael the headstrong prideful daughter of a man who was paid to set fire to the Earl’s home. The Earl is desperate to find who set the fire, hoping that it truly wasn’t him and is using all of the enticements at his disposal to learn from a reluctant Rachael everything she knows of her now deceased father and any part he played in the fire.

They are nemesis at the beginning of the story as Rachael is helping organize a union against the Earl’s mine. Rachael is completely distrusting of him

Like Persephone, she was making a deal with the devil. She was warming herself at his fire, dining on his food –

But as she learns more of the man she cannot help but be drawn to him. Both are strong willful characters and they took a little time for me to warm to them.

There is always a lot happening in the book. Between searching for the true murderer, the mine drama and the budding romance there really weren’t any dull moments. Every time I thought I had a handle on who set the blaze and murdered the Earl’s wife I felt myself change theories or complete direction. I was kept guessing as to the who and why of it until the last few chapters.

The story definitely builds. I loved that some things were kept simple. Sometimes with historical romances the details become daunting as everything is explained in the minutest of details. But the author focused more of the telling of the story. There are enough details about the time and setting to build a vivid picture but it is beautifully crafted and not overdone. The suspense building for the story had my reading chapter after chapter not wanted to set it down.

There were only a few small details that didn’t get closed out as well as I would have liked. But they are small and I don’t think most readers will notice at all.

If you ever read/watched Jane Eyre and like me thought, I wish they did more than just kiss, then my friend this book is for you. I love that this is an adult romance that reads like it is from the era of Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte. Fantastic Historical Romance.

ARC provided by Amazon Publishing – Montlake Romance via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Any quotes may not be in the final novel.