When a disgraced royal demon scheming to regain power by bearing the emperor a child, dies before her plans come to fruition, the daughter she leaves behind is raised alongside a young prince. That is until his affection for the girl starts to worry his parents who turn her out of their house.
Prospects are not good for the unwanted orphan, so when she is given the opportunity to make her fortune as a courtesan she takes the chance.
Her first protector is none other than her childhood friend. But he is no longer the sweet boy she remembers and she is no longer the carefree child she was all those years ago. Not only that, but their stations in life are greatly changed and their interaction is governed by a strict code of behaviour. The two fall in love and as a result face charges of treason and potential death sentences. But the girl’s family blackmail the emperor into accepting banishment rather than execution and the couple leave the isolated world they know to carve a future together in the human world.
I picked this book up because it was supposedly set in the same alternate Victorian universe as The Demon’s Daughter but while the story is set in the same universe, it takes place entirely in the isolated demon world. For all intents and purposes it may as well have been set in the Far East. Everything from the characters’ names and interests to the social structure scream eighteenth century Asia. The technology was entirely modern and while I knew this aspect of the demon world, I was disappointed that the steampunk elements that so attracted me to the first book were missing here.
There is plenty of Holly’s trademark erotica to be found within the pages which is technically well done but I feel wasn’t quite up to her usual standard. The ruling class genitalia and hormone cycles seemed both unnecessarily complicated and unbelievable (the royal males are physically different to common males but status is at the whim of the emperor-hmmm?).
Overall, not a bad book, particularly if you are a fan of the friends-to-lovers storyline, but certainly not what I had hoped for.-Lynn