his lordship's blood coverRating: 4 stars
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Length: Novel

 

For Alfred, Lord Crawford, and his devoted lover, Dominick Trent, there seems to be no escape from murder and mystery. Driven to the Ton haven of Bath by a cryptic note, Alfred and Nick have come seeking some trace of Nick’s parents. Like Alfie, Nick was left at the workhouse without any real information about his family, save for a battered pewter ring that Nick has carried with him since striking out on his own.

But the social scene in Bath is murderous and, almost as soon as they arrive, Nick and Alfie are dragged into a violent case of poisoning. This leads to a twisted royalist plot involving the King of France, a lost prince, and a woman’s desperation to be loved. Nick and Alfie are trapped in the middle of it all, with a murderer on their trail and under the threat of a permanent and terrible separation. Since they were children, they’ve only had one another to depend upon and now it will take all of their cleverness and strength to keep their relationship and love intact.

His Lordship’s Blood is the fourth in the His Lordship’s Mysteries series and these really need to be read in order to fully appreciate the romance between Nick and Alfie and all they have endured. Unfortunately, I felt this was weaker than others in the series and I was slightly frustrated at times by some of the plot choices. But, despite this, the relationship between Nick and Alfie remains the primary focus of the novel and their love for one another is why they continue to be one of my favorite fictional couples.

I cannot go into a lot of detail regarding the plot because of potential spoilers, so I will have to tiptoe around the edges a bit here. Sufficed to say, Nick and Alfie become embroiled in another murder and the mystery, while not particularly high brow, is a tad stronger than some of the previous entries in the series. There is a side plot that involves Nick’s search for his parents that, at one point, goes off the rails and slides towards the ridiculous. I just felt this particular plot choice on the part of the author was a little too obvious and absurd for even an ounce of believability. And with any other book, that might have been enough for me to set it aside, but Nick and Alfie are the kind of couple that can save a silly plot from itself. They’ve reached the point in their relationship where they’re completely comfortable with one another and so devout that simple pettiness and jealously have no hold upon them. Yet this love, which is absolute and complete, never reads as trite or saccharine. Instead, these men have known pain and suffering and they come through all the stronger for it. They are better men for knowing one another and stronger together than they are apart. They are not perfect and have their failings, as all men, but as a couple they work on nearly every level.

His Lordship’s Blood was not my favorite of this well established series and the plot struggles to maintain a sense of realism at times. But the connection between Nick and Alfie and they love they share is the heart of these books and the reason I keep coming back. Their relationship is stronger than ever here and, despite the storyline misstep, anyone who has enjoyed the series thus far will find plenty to appreciate in His Lordship’s Blood.