Author: Raven McAllan
Genre/Age: Historical Romance
Publisher: Carina/Carina UK
Format: ebook via Purchase
Synopsis: Unravelling her secrets…
The exquisite designs of mysterious dressmaker Madame Belle are the most sought after in the ton, yet only a few are trusted with Belle’s deepest secret – her name.
Lady Belinda Howells has gone to great lengths to disguise her identity, it’s the only way to protect herself from the ruthless demands of her wicked father…and to protect her heart.
Until Lord Phillip Macpherson walks into her salon and his scorching kiss burns a memory onto her lips that she’ll never be able to forget!
Now it’s only a matter of time before the notorious rake unveils the truth, and when he does, Belle knows that she won’t be able to resist…
This was my second book by Raven McAllan. This story is set in the same time period and roundabout continent as The Scottish Lord's Secret Bride, yet doesn't seem to be related to that book. In this book, we have Belinda, a woman with a secret crush on her friend's older brother, Phillip. At the same time, she is informed that her father has promised her hand to another man who Belinda does not wish to marry. To escape her betrothal, Belinda flees and seeks refuge from her friend's Godmother.
In order to keep her identity hidden, Belinda becomes Madame Belle, an exclusive clothing designer with a high reputation among the elite ladies of the ton. She builds a new life for herself, unbeknownst to her father.
As fate would have it, our Lord Phillip visits Belle's shop in hopes of having some clothing made for another woman. He doesn't recognize his sister's friend but still feels an instant attraction to her. Over time, the truth of Belle's identity is revealed, which only leads to further complications. But Phillip refuses to let Belle slip from his fingers.
I enjoyed this story, yet not as much as I wanted to. I thought it was strange for Phillip not to have recognized Belinda, even after spending so much time with her. I also found it hard to understand Belle's reluctance to marry the man she had lusted after for so many years. Her determination to keep her identity hidden almost cost her from finding love, which would have been a shame.
A good read with likable characters and a bit of danger along the way. 3.5 suns!