“Bridgerton lovers have found their next read. J. J. McAvoy is a welcome new voice in historical romance.”—New York Times bestselling author Sarah MacLean
“McAvoy has crafted a lushly romantic tale with a real thread of danger in its pages and a swoony second-chance romance.”—Entertainment Weekly
Aphrodite Du Bell has always resented her name. While the members of the ton, and even the queen herself, praise her warm brown skin, perfect curls, and exquisite features, Aphrodite can’t help but think that living up to the literal goddess of beauty is asking a bit much. Her renowned loveliness certainly didn’t stop the love of her life from jilting her and marrying another woman four years ago.
When Aphrodite’s formidable mother summons her back to London to aid in her sister’s debut, she has no choice but to acquiesce. But Aphrodite is determined to ignore one man in particular: Evander Eagleman, the Duke of Everely, the man who devastated her all those years ago. Yet why does her guileless heart still flutter at the sight of him?
Evander Eagleman lost his chance for true love, but now that he is an unattached widower, he is determined to win back Aphrodite’s trust—and her hand in marriage. But just as the couple make strides to mend old wounds, Evander’s true reason for rejecting Aphrodite threatens their coveted future . . . and even their lives.
From the beginning, this dramatic and diverting second chance romance from McAvoy (My Sunrise Sunset Paramour) makes clear that it's set in an alternate Regency England where race is not a factor in class and racial prejudice does not exist. Aphrodite Du Bell returns to London for her sister's first season. Though she was the belle of her own first season, a broken betrothal left her both heartbroken and scandalized and she's been hiding from society ever since. Evander Eagleman carries the responsibility of his dukedom and all the family secrets that come with it on his back. Though he's only ever loved Aphrodite, circumstances forced him to jilt her all those years ago. Now widowed, he is prepared to do whatever it takes to win her back but his family secrets put them both in danger. The melodramatic appeal of their romance is marred slightly by inconsistent pacing and some awkward language, but readers will easily fall in love with the protagonists. And, between the Bridgerton TV series and the forthcoming film adaptation of Mr. Malcom's List, the popularity of diverse historical romance is clear; McAvoy's addition to this growing genre comes right on time. Agent: Natanya Wheeler, Nancy Yost Literary.