With a tarnished reputation, Mercy Lyndhurst expected to become the Earl of Rochford’s mistress, not his wife. Immediately abandoned by her husband after their wedding, Mercy transformed herself from commoner to countess, vowing to protect the lands and people her husband was forced to leave.
Over the past six years, William has restored the family fortune all the while tortured by his memories of Mercy…and the dark night he killed a man. When a threat draws him home, William learns just how much has changed—including his wife. While the passion still flares between them, he fears he has wounded her too badly to regain her trust. But as the danger grows they must unite to save the estate…and possibly their marriage.
by Amber Lin
August 4, 2014
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Betraying Mercy by Amber Lin starts out pretty much like I’d expected: handsome, but tortured Earl kind of has his way with a young, innocent maiden. But that’s about where the predictability stops. If this story can be summed up with a sentence it’s this: defying expectations. I wasn’t sure what I was going to get with this, but what I anticipated absolutely wasn’t what I got—this was historical romance done right.
The story revolves around the difficult (and interesting) relationship between the Earl of Rochford, William, and Mercy Lyndhurst—his wife after a blink and you’ll miss it wedding ceremony. After the wedding, William decides that he’s too tarnished—and tortured—to make Mercy anything other than his wife in name, and decides to set sail and try his hand at life on the open sea. Returning home after a note he receives declares Mercy to be unwell, William is met with many things—deceit, attempted murder—including a decidedly healthy, and decidedly miffed, Mercy.
What I really liked about this story was what a strong character Mercy is, especially for a shorter novel. You get a very clear sense of who she is and what she stands for—and what she won’t stand for—without it feeling rushed or disingenuous. I also enjoyed how independent and intelligent Mercy is; this is a strong woman whose had a hard life, but she’s more than capable and willing to get things done her own way. I also enjoyed how the relationship between Mercy and William grows throughout the story. William has treated her badly, which she well remembers, but they’re able to grow together believably by the end.
I also really enjoyed how layered William is. Here’s a character with faults, he makes mistakes and has regrets, and takes steps to make amends—without being an overbearing brute or a typical chauvinistic male lead. Of course, it’s written in a time when women didn’t take the lead in any aspect of their lives, but I think that the story is well written and balanced enough that the way the events play out is believable and natural. It is unusual for a woman to take the lead in her life in this time period, which is exactly what makes Mercy such an interesting character, and it’s really fun to watch William as he comes to realize exactly what kind of woman he’s married.
This was a really fun historical romance and not at all what I was expecting. I was expecting a typical female character who lives and breathes for her dark prince, who she’s eventually able to salvage and help change into some sort of a real human. What I got was a spunky and thoroughly entertaining (and smart!) female lead who will do whatever it takes to take control of her life—and keep her sister safe. I really enjoyed this. It’s rather short, which is really great—you get all the heart and feel of a long story, but in a compact and impactful form. This story doesn’t leave you feeling short changed as I enjoyed every moment. Do I want more? Absolutely! And I’m incredibly excited to see where Amber Lin goes from here.
If you’re looking for a quick, well written historical romance, with an interesting lead and a conflicted hero—with some mystery and mayhem thrown into the mix—then Betraying Mercy by Amber Lin is for you!
Her debut novel, Giving It Up, received The Romance Review’s Top Pick, Night Owl Top Pick, and 5 Blue Ribbons from Romance Junkies. RT Book Reviews gave it 4.5 stars, calling it “truly extraordinary.” She has been published by Loose Id, Carina Press, and Entangled.
Amber married her high school sweetheart, birthed a kid who’s smarter than she is, and spends her nights writing down her dirty thoughts. In other words, life is good.