Delilah Marvelle is one of my favorite romance authors, no doubt about that. The reason this isn't a 5-star review is because, though the time spent with the couple was very sweet, there were a few things I had a hard time with.
1. Nathaniel and Imogene only spent about 35%-40% of the book together, working through their relationship. I wished that they could've spent more time together, especially as they had a lot to work out as a couple. While the time spent on Nathaniel's pugilism was very interesting, I was a little sad that it cut so much into the couple's evolving marriage.
2. Time went very, very quickly in the last 33% of the book, with chapters subtitles reading "9 months later..." Like what I said before, that was a lot of time that I would've enjoyed seeing.
3. The final showdown between Nathaniel, Imogene, and his dad would've been amazing to see. I was sad that we never got to see it.
4. The bondage and dom/sub stuff. I get it, and I'm glad that in the end they were equals. But, yet again, I would've enjoyed having more time spent focusing on how Nathaniel was able, mentally and physically, to give up that control to Imogene. I saw it, but I would've liked more.
I will say that with the space she had, it was a good book. I did enjoy the time spent on Nathaniel's and Imogene's painful pasts, and how they eventually were able to heal those scars in each other. It was especially great to watch Imogene grow from a background where she was sickly and submissive to grow out of her shell, even going so far as to defy and disobey her husband and rally against his authoritarianism.
For fans of Courtney Milan and Shelley Thomas I would definitely recommend this series. It doesn't shy away from the darker sides of Victorian culture, but embraces it in a charming, naughty way which, in turn, makes her novels spicy delights.