Matthias Deverall is used to the whispers and stares of supposedly polite society. His entire life he’s been separate from them due to circumstances of birth. Now, his wealth dictates they must tolerate him, but they’ll never accept him. And he doesn’t care about that. All he wants to do his clear his dead father’s name. He might be a bastard, but he’s still a Deverall.
Nicholas Rexford, Viscount Leighton, may be nobility, but thanks to his father’s reckless gambling and suicide, Nick is on the verge financial ruin. He has three sisters who depend upon him and they’ve come to London for the Season. Nick isn’t sure how he’s going to pay for dresses and balls and all the rest, but they must manage the pretense all the same. Crossing paths with Matthias Deverall shakes up Nick’s well-ordered world and plunges both men into a heated affair. But does Matthias actually care for Nick, or is he merely using the man for his own, secret purposes?
I do love a Regency romance and The Bastard’s World, despite a few flaws, is quite a fun example of that trope. There’s really a lot to love here, starting with the characters. Matthias and Nick are both exceptionally well-developed characters. Their motives and emotions always read clearly to me, even when they were at cross-purposes with one another. I really appreciated that Matthias was portrayed as having ice water in his veins, but his love for Nick didn’t suddenly change him into a gooey mess. He was still stiff and standoffish save when he was with Nick. The cast of secondary characters is strong as well, and Nick’s little sister reminded me a great deal of the youngest from the film version of Sense and Sensibility.
I think the whole business of the mysterious globe and Matthias’ quest to clear his father’s name is pretty contrived. Which some would say is appropriate for a Regency novel, but here it just felt extraneous all around. It doesn’t add much to the story, but it doesn’t completely cripple it either. I’m not going to go into the details further because I don’t want to get into possible spoilers, but it’s all pretty absurd. There were also some editing errors and normally that’s something I’m pretty oblivious to. It didn’t make The Bastard’s World unreadable, but they were noticeable, so if that’s something that bugs you, then consider yourself forewarned. On a side note, I really don’t think the title make much sense. Yes Deverall is a bastard son, but beyond that, the title didn’t fit well. Which doesn’t mean anything. It was just one of those quirky things.
I enjoyed The Bastard’s World a great deal. The story is pretty silly, but the characters are wonderful and their relationship was the real draw of the book. If you enjoy the traditional Regency tropes, you’re probably going to love The Bastard’s World.