This is the third book in the Secrets of Charlotte Street series of Georgian-era historical romance novels. I was eagerly awaiting its release since I enjoyed the first two books in the series.
Alice has been working as an apprentice at an exclusive London whipping house, but she aspires to a more active role at the establishment. She’s already sending all of her money home, and would not turn down any opportunity that would provide her with more income to her widowed mother and sisters- who have no idea what she is actually doing in London.
Speaking of which: Alice receives a letter that says her mother is very ill. It will take days for her to get home via coach, but fortunately, Lord Lieutenant Henry Evesham is going to be traveling in the same direction, and Alice agrees to travel with him- only because she is desperate to see her mother before she dies.
Henry is an evangelical former, who is supposed to be ridding the city of vice. He’s more interested in helping sinners reform than punishing them through legal channels, and so he is familiar with the establishment where Alice works.
And now they’re traveling in a curricle together, trying to reach Alice’s house in the middle of winter.
It would be a gross understatement to say that Henry has a problematic relationship with the lurid details of his work, but we’ll have to leave it at that for now.
This is one of the slowest of slow burn romances, but that’s what makes it so exquisite. Henry and Alice are so wonderful together. The slow process in which these two diametrically opposed souls find common ground is a wonder to behold. Henry’s strict adherence to his faith is treated with compassion and understanding, much in the same way that Alice’s laissez-faire attitudes about morality are not scorned. Henry is legitimately afraid of going to hell because of his physical desires, and nothing will convince him otherwise.
I’m making this book sound very serious, but it’s not as grave as it sounds. There are plenty of lighter moments; despite their differences, Alice and Henry have a wonderful rapport together, and their banter is top-notch. They have several interesting conversations together, and even though they don’t agree on a lot, they support each other. One of my favorite scenes occurs relatively early in the book when Henry and Alice are obligated to stop at his family’s house because of the weather, and Alice has objections to the way Henry’s father and brother treat him.
I would absolutely recommend The Lord I Left. This book was pure perfection, and is easily my favorite in the series so far. Not only does this book deserve full marks, it also deserves bonus points for being a cut above the rest. I will certainly be looking out for more of Peckham’s books in the future; I’m especially looking forward to The Rakess, due out later this year.