LADY TRIUMPHS is the third book and grand finale in the unforgettable Black Rose Trilogy and does not disappoint for chills and thrills as Lady Serena Wellcott (formerly known as Raven Wells) at last turns her attention to settling an old score with the Earl of Trent, Geoffrey Parke. With Phillip Warrick at her back and the lovers reconciled, it will still take every resource and wicked skill she has acquired to destroy the man who was once her trusted guardian. Lord Trent is no ordinary foe but Lady Wellcott has never shied away from a challenge and what’s a bit of revenge between old friends? From the glittering ballrooms of London to the shadowed servants’ passages of the Ton’s grand homes, the Black Rose will weave a seductive spell until no one is safe.
Phillip’s loyalty is tested to its limits as he is forced to stand aside and watch the woman he loves assume her role and identity as a Villainess with no equal. Their shared hatred of Trent is eclipsed by Phillip’s need to protect her even if the greatest danger comes from Raven herself. Their passion for each other has only grown and each sensual encounter cements the bonds that tether her dark soul to his—even when rivals appear and their world starts to unravel. The stakes are impossibly high but Serena is a fearless gambler. Every element of her upbringing and every tragic misstep comes into play. Raised for vengeance, she will return to the earl as his creation and serve him a slice of his own poisonous fruit with a smile on her beautiful lips. The Lady has planned the perfect murder. The only problem is, it will likely be her own.
My Thoughts: Author Renee Bernard left the readers hanging above a cliff in both the first and second books of the series. With both events, I was provoked beyond provocation! In the first book Phillip Warrick had become so lovable and then blew my mind with completely unorthodox handling of an emotional moment with Raven.
So with unwilling heart, me, the reader, finds Phillip, in book two, extremely remorseful. I didn’t want to like him. He wasn’t worth my time even if he was remorseful. I don’t think Phillip liked himself either for Lord Trent, the true villain, paints it to him with broad, destruction brush strokes. At the end of book 2, my heart was in tune once again with Phillip and disgusted with Raven who had become something of a villain herself. Raven changed her persona and changed my inclinations toward her. We faced another cliff at the end of book 2 – Lady Serena (Raven) manipulating Phillip’s heart and putting the screws to it. Ah, she had her revenge. But I ask, at what cost? And yet, she says she loves him. The woman is a twisted mess of emotion and seemingly on the verge of insanity.
So now I embark on book 3. In book 3 the world returns to its axis. Phillip realizes and with much heartache and mind searching that he has done the most horrendous actions to Raven and doubts that she’ll ever forgive him. However, he can’t stand to not be with Lady Serena, so he goes back to see her. Their wounded hearts, for they both have them, have matured and reason is restored after further emotional struggle. Eventually, the love between them is wonderful. We have come full circle. Phillip really is a hero. Lady Serena has forgiven and moved on. She also cannot see her life without Phillip. But she has a mission. Lady Serena, who now wants to be called Raven by Phillip, is seeking her final revenge on Lord Trent. He made her and made her in his own image. She wants him destroyed. She very cleverly and with much calculation, knowing his spirit, gave him the rope to destroy himself. A very poetic ending. But in the doing, has she lost herself?
The series is highly engaging, captivating emotions of disgust, hate, revenge, love, and passion. I’m happy to see the author was kind enough not to suspend us long on cliffs while we waited for book 3. If you enjoy historicals with suspense, wickedness and passion, and an enduring love in the worst of conditions, read this series. You won’t be disappointed.
About the Author: Renee Bernard is an award winning and USA Today bestselling author of historical romance and recently, contemporary romantic comedy. She won RT’s Reviewer’s Choice award for “Best Debut Historical” in 2006 and never slowed down (she missed the memo). By the end of 2014, she will have fifteen books out there in the world. She has published with Simon & Schuster and Berkley as well as branching out into independent publishing, audio books and comic books. For over four years she has been the host of “The Romance Bookmark” (formerly “Canned Laughter and Coffee”), a weekly internet radio show with between 80-100K registered listeners via Readers Entertainment. From wine wrangling to stand-up comedy and public speaking, there’s nothing off the table. (No really. Nothing. Except anything involving a pole. She’s past that now.)
Renee lives in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains with her husband and daughters, and an adequate number of cats to qualify as a romance writer.