Reviewed by Mandi
Margaret Cassidy left Ireland to come to England and help those who have come home from war. She is a nurse that helps them rebuild their lives by getting them off of an addiction to opium. She has become known for it and can pass by with the money she makes off of it but she needs more. Her brother is in financial and personal trouble so when the Earl of Carlyle asks Margaret to cure his son of his opium addiction, she accepts.
Viscount James Powers, more known as just Powers, started opium as a way to forget the horrible memories surrounding the death of his wife and young daughter. His father is desperate for Powers to end this addiction and not only asks Margaret to use her expertise for this matter, but to also marry him. He doesn’t want his son heading down a dark path later in life, and the Earl is frail of health and won’t always be there to keep an eye on him. Margaret would not only be his wife, but his keeper.
The Dark Affair has a really strong start. When we first meet Powers, he is chained up in an asylum, out of his mind with his addiction. He is surly, and sick, almost brutal in his behavior. With the impending marriage of convenience, I became very excited. Margaret married to this broken, tortured man excited me greatly. Even with just a brief glimpse at Margaret I knew I would like her. She is strong, able to roll her eyes at Powers’s behavior and truly wants to see him get better. I even believed in her reasons for wanting to marry Powers – as she is very close with her brother and as you will find out, needs all the help she can get, and with Powers’s fortune, that would be possible.
While I overall liked this book, it really stalls in the middle. Once Powers gets control of his withdrawal symptoms, his grief over his dead wife and child is very heavy. Every little thing reminds him of them and he can’t move past. I feel like for a good part of this book we just sit and watch him suffer. I needed something else to happen in this story to keep my interest. I appreciate how the author lets these two come to know each other and we have a lot of time spent with Powers understanding Margaret’s passion of helping those starving in Ireland. But it wasn’t enough to keep me interested.
While I believe the two of these would become good friends, I’m not sure I was fully convinced they fell in love. I like that it was a slow moving situation, because Powers needed to heal – but I needed more time with them before the ‘I love you’ made sense to me.
This is the first I’ve read of this author but I’d like to try her again.