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He’s a minister to whores… She’s a fallen woman… Lord Lieutenant Henry Evesham is an evangelical reformer charged with investigating the flesh trade in London. His visits to bawdy houses leave him with a burning desire to help sinners who’ve lost their innocence to vice—even if the temptations of their world test his vow not to lose his moral compass…again. As apprentice He’s a minister to whores… She’s a fallen woman… Lord Lieutenant Henry Evesham is an evangelical reformer charged with investigating the flesh trade in London. His visits to bawdy houses leave him with a burning desire to help sinners who’ve lost their innocence to vice—even if the temptations of their world test his vow not to lose his moral compass…again. As apprentice to London’s most notorious whipping governess, Alice Hull is on the cusp of abandoning her quiet, rural roots for the city’s swirl of provocative ideas and pleasures—until a family tragedy upends her dreams and leaves her desperate to get home. When the handsome, pious Lord Lieutenant offers her a ride despite the coming blizzard, she knows he is her best chance to reach her ailing mother—even if she doesn’t trust him. He has the power to destroy her… She has the power to undo him… As they struggle to travel the snow-swept countryside, they find their suspicion of each other thawing into a longing that leaves them both shaken. Alice stirs Henry’s deepest fantasies, and he awakens parts of her she thought she’d foresworn years ago. But Henry is considering new regulations that threaten the people Alice holds dear, and association with a woman like Alice would threaten Henry’s reputation if he allowed himself to get too close. Is falling for the wrong person a test of faith …or a chance at unimagined grace?


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He’s a minister to whores… She’s a fallen woman… Lord Lieutenant Henry Evesham is an evangelical reformer charged with investigating the flesh trade in London. His visits to bawdy houses leave him with a burning desire to help sinners who’ve lost their innocence to vice—even if the temptations of their world test his vow not to lose his moral compass…again. As apprentice He’s a minister to whores… She’s a fallen woman… Lord Lieutenant Henry Evesham is an evangelical reformer charged with investigating the flesh trade in London. His visits to bawdy houses leave him with a burning desire to help sinners who’ve lost their innocence to vice—even if the temptations of their world test his vow not to lose his moral compass…again. As apprentice to London’s most notorious whipping governess, Alice Hull is on the cusp of abandoning her quiet, rural roots for the city’s swirl of provocative ideas and pleasures—until a family tragedy upends her dreams and leaves her desperate to get home. When the handsome, pious Lord Lieutenant offers her a ride despite the coming blizzard, she knows he is her best chance to reach her ailing mother—even if she doesn’t trust him. He has the power to destroy her… She has the power to undo him… As they struggle to travel the snow-swept countryside, they find their suspicion of each other thawing into a longing that leaves them both shaken. Alice stirs Henry’s deepest fantasies, and he awakens parts of her she thought she’d foresworn years ago. But Henry is considering new regulations that threaten the people Alice holds dear, and association with a woman like Alice would threaten Henry’s reputation if he allowed himself to get too close. Is falling for the wrong person a test of faith …or a chance at unimagined grace?

30 review for The Lord I Left

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jite

    4.5 Stars! Short form one sentence summary: OMG this book is FABULOUS!!!! I love this author!!!! I’ve been awaiting this book ever since The Earl I Tempted and the Christmas novella that followed that but I was also a little nervous because I’m Christian and my faith is important to me and I was worried that I would feel offended or like this book was anti-faith or something. I should have known better. I should have known that this author knows how to take a controversial issue, something polem 4.5 Stars! Short form one sentence summary: OMG this book is FABULOUS!!!! I love this author!!!! I’ve been awaiting this book ever since The Earl I Tempted and the Christmas novella that followed that but I was also a little nervous because I’m Christian and my faith is important to me and I was worried that I would feel offended or like this book was anti-faith or something. I should have known better. I should have known that this author knows how to take a controversial issue, something polemic, present it in a way that causes argument or discussion and leave you questioning your stance on things you were clear on before hand. Entering into this novel, yes, it DEFINITELY is heavily religious in theme and some of it feels inspirational but at it’s core, this is an erotic religious taboo romance that feels even hotter, sexier and more spicy for the tension and internal conflict the Methodist minister hero experiences, than if it had been a love scene-a-minute. I admire the author in taking on this kind of romance because I think there’s a lot of potential for it to be disliked. People who are Christian might be offended and people who are not, might feel like this has too much religious content. I would most definitely read the content warning / trigger warning at the beginning before jumping in (it’s probably visible in the book preview on any vendor online if you’re not purchasing in person) before getting this to see if this might be your thing. As a caveat, I was almost discouraged from reading by the CW but I went for it anyway and I’m so glad I did. The premise is that Henry, a Methodist minister (he was in the first couple of books as a very minor character), who would kind of be analogous to an evangelical Christian today, is the Lord Lieutenant of the House of Lords who has been appointed to look into vice, specifically prostitution, in the city. Alice, who works at the whipping house (BDSM club?) On Charlotte Street has taken an instant dislike to him because of his judgey ways. But when the two are thrown together on a perilous trip to the country, sparks fly and their lives are changed forever. I love that the author took on difficult topics like prostitution and the legality of it and how it is discussed and I also love the exploration of how it’s a conversation led by men, how society views it, the alternatives for women and most of all, how religion views it. I don’t think this was the most complete and most rounded take on these issues but I think for making these narratives and conversations be seamless and interesting on a romance novel, this was absolutely fabulous. I think as a person of faith, there’s a lot to pick at here- the author’s message with Henry and his journey as a character did not always align with my doctrine and beliefs as a person of faith like Henry but I felt like his conflicts were realistic and the message she had was important for anyone who ever wants to feel pride in what a perfect person of faith they are. This is a feminist romance and I like that the heroine wasn’t ever presented as the person that needed reforming and that she was strong in personality, funny and unashamedly who she was. Her swearing skills are beyond creative and I say this as a non-swearer! She had me on the floor. Also if you like the virgin hero trope, THIS IS IT done super realistically- Henry is not some kind of sexual savant and definitely Alice takes the lead and she’s also very open and unashamed of her rake-level experience. However, the weakness in this book, to me, is that this often felt like Henry’s book. He went through so much growth and transformation in this whereas the heroine, Alice, didn’t seem to have that experience. I liked her but I would have liked to see some growth from her as well in some way. Henry takes you on a journey with him whilst I feel like she started and ended very much in the same place. Is this for everyone? NO. I think a non-religious person reading this has to have some patience or interesting in religious taboo tropes or motifs and a religious (Christian) person reading this has to be the sort not to feel like their faith is threatened by divergent opinions and also be willing to think about the balance of legality and Grace in Christianity. But if you like a romance that will challenge you and that will make you think and have opinions and change your mind about certain things or further entrench you in what you already think or upset you in some way, Scarlett Peckham is your author. I highly recommend this if you like religious taboo or like “religious themes but make it sexy” in your romance. I think one thing Scarlett Peckham is absolutely brilliant at is writing books that push people. These aren’t books that are extraordinarily fluffy nor are they especially dark, but they’re challenging to existing mental models and push romance fans to re-examine stances on cheating (in The Duke I Tempted), find sympathy for a dead wrong, difficult heroine (in The Earl I Ruined) and overcome religious discomfort (with the amount of religious content or with the doctrine, depending on your POV) in this latest book in the Charlotte Street series, The Lord I Left. And this is my favourite thing about this author. That she pushes you but not for the sake of pushing you, but because she understands the complexities of human nature and in a romance, writes them soooooo sooooo very well! I received a free advanced copy of this through a competition on the author’s newsletter with no obligation to review. This was honestly SOOOO good though! I’m still floored!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Lindsay

    Alice Hull is working at an apprenticeship with the Charlotte Street club that was a feature of the previous two books. She's in the role of an unexpected temptress to evangelical reformer Lord Lieutenant Henry Evesham. Evesham has been set up by Parliament to produce a damning report into the flesh trade in London, but exposure to actual people and the fact that he's basically a good man is leaving him with some tough decisions. When an unexpected turn of events has Alice and Henry spending a l Alice Hull is working at an apprenticeship with the Charlotte Street club that was a feature of the previous two books. She's in the role of an unexpected temptress to evangelical reformer Lord Lieutenant Henry Evesham. Evesham has been set up by Parliament to produce a damning report into the flesh trade in London, but exposure to actual people and the fact that he's basically a good man is leaving him with some tough decisions. When an unexpected turn of events has Alice and Henry spending a lot of time together their conversation and attraction makes it even more difficult for him to fulfill his role. Stepping out of London makes for an interesting turn for this series. Putting these two together in close proximity for most of the book makes for some funny banter and interesting conversation around self-determination, societal roles and sex work. In the latter stages of the book as you meet both their families, the contrast between them is interesting as well, with both wanting the same thing for Alice and Henry, but for very different reasons.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Niki

    Henry Evesham's fiery evangelical writings have seen him made a Lord Lieutenant by the House of Lords and tasked with producing a report detailing his investigations of London's flesh trade, along with his recommendations for curbing vice. He truly wants to help those who've lost their innocence and been corrupted by or forced into a world of vice, even as he is tempted by that world and struggles to keep his moral compass in place and not slip up, again. Alice Hull is hoping to leave behind her Henry Evesham's fiery evangelical writings have seen him made a Lord Lieutenant by the House of Lords and tasked with producing a report detailing his investigations of London's flesh trade, along with his recommendations for curbing vice. He truly wants to help those who've lost their innocence and been corrupted by or forced into a world of vice, even as he is tempted by that world and struggles to keep his moral compass in place and not slip up, again. Alice Hull is hoping to leave behind her country roots and make a go of it in London as an apprentice to a notorious whipping house mistress. Her plans are derailed when mother suddenly falls ill and Alice must rush home with all possible haste. Given the difficulty of winter travel, Alice finds she cannot refuse the handsome but judgmental Lord Lieutenant when he offers to allow her to travel with him. She knows she can't trust him, but she must take her best chance at arriving in time to see her mother again. Their travels through the wintry countryside are fraught with mishaps which only serve to bring these two closer and make their mutual longing more apparent. Alice challenges Henry to examine his own heart more closely and he winds up inadvertently causing the same soul searching in Alice. But as a minister, Henry's reputation means everything and his association with Alice would ruin him thoroughly if he allowed himself to pursue his true desires. Wow. Y'all this book gave me all the feels. While it's not considered an inspirational, it explores tenets of faith that, as a Christian myself, I found to be very moving and well done. This was a difficult and ambitious topic to take on and I think the author did a fantastic job with it. Henry was so hard on himself and it was nice to see him realize he could still maintain his faith and enjoy some of life's pleasures as well. This book made me examine my own faith a bit as well and I really felt for the characters as they both grew and developed and managed to choose each other without compromising their principles but rather, by establishing what those principles truly were as they both developed in their faith. This book was an emotional powerhouse and as such won't be for everyone, but I enjoyed it and found the author to be very talented. I will continue to read her work and look forward to the next installment in this series. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. https://mustreadalltheromance.blogspo...

  4. 5 out of 5

    Elise

    This was so great; review to come. 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥✝️ Alice This was so great; review to come. 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥✝️ Alice

  5. 5 out of 5

    Leigh Kramer

    I have thoroughly enjoyed each book in this series but The Lord I Left is hands down my favorite. It was even more stunning than I thought it would be. How does Scarlett Peckham do it?! She keeps knocking it out of the park and I’m very glad for it. Henry is a Methodist minister working on a report about how to handle London’s sex workers. He truly wants to help them, although he largely sees them as sinners who have lost their way instead of people who chose their work or who are simply trying t I have thoroughly enjoyed each book in this series but The Lord I Left is hands down my favorite. It was even more stunning than I thought it would be. How does Scarlett Peckham do it?! She keeps knocking it out of the park and I’m very glad for it. Henry is a Methodist minister working on a report about how to handle London’s sex workers. He truly wants to help them, although he largely sees them as sinners who have lost their way instead of people who chose their work or who are simply trying to survive. Alice, a whipping house apprentice, wants nothing to do with him but when she receives word that her mother is dying and he offers to give her a ride home, there’s nothing but delicious forced proximity and one mishap after another. Henry and Alice are both more than they seem and I loved watching them discover each other. Peckham is a gorgeous writer but she does something different in this book that really took it up a notch. Whenever we’re in Henry’s POV, we get to see and experience his needs vs. wants through parenthetical asides. He’s constantly repressing his desires and trying to lasso even his thoughts into submission. The parentheses where he acknowledges this or admonishes himself allow us to experience his inner tension in a very real way. He keeps denying himself, from never eating sugar or meat to how little he sleeps to squashing the faintest hint of a lustful thought. The religious aspect was so well-balanced. I have many complicated (read: negative) feelings about the inspirational romance subgenre when it’s limited to Christian fiction. However, I love when general market romance explores faith because it’s usually incredibly nuanced and, more importantly, rooted in reality. Henry was the right amount of sincere and earnest but never tipped over into proselytizing. Henry and Alice have incredible chemistry. There’s a foot-washing scene that is very Mary Magdalene and they almost get it on in a church. There’s also a fantastic scene in which Alice tells off Henry’s horrible father, which was much needed. But perhaps my favorite part is the letter Henry sends to Alice toward the end and the decision he makes regarding his report. What a wondrous transformation of a marvelous man! CW: dying parent ((view spoiler)[it turns out heroine’s mother was only pretending to be dying (hide spoiler)] ), past death of father, grief, plight of sex workers, toxic father and brother, snowstorm, heroine’s mother slaps her, slut-shaming (challenged), carriage accident resulting in broken arm, brief reference to a child falling into a frozen pond and being rescued

  6. 4 out of 5

    Miccaeli

    (3.5) This book (and series) is playing fast and loose with the standard conventions of the historical romance genre in a way a lot of people won't like but I'm actually really enjoying. I like that the male character is the inexperienced one and that the woman is confident about what she wants, both in her career/life and her desires. I like that it's set in a completely different time period (the 1750s?!?!? we're pre revolution here people!!!) and there's a very harlots-on-hulu aesthetic/vibe g (3.5) This book (and series) is playing fast and loose with the standard conventions of the historical romance genre in a way a lot of people won't like but I'm actually really enjoying. I like that the male character is the inexperienced one and that the woman is confident about what she wants, both in her career/life and her desires. I like that it's set in a completely different time period (the 1750s?!?!? we're pre revolution here people!!!) and there's a very harlots-on-hulu aesthetic/vibe going on. The characters were well fleshed out and there's genuinely nothing that will bond you quicker than a quick trip through the old familial trauma. The ending was too schmaltzy for me, but then again they nearly always are. VERY excited for the next book with elena and that dude who just wants to make an honest woman of her!!!!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Natasha is a Book Junkie

    I can’t even describe what a fan I am of Scarlett Peckham’s magnificent Secrets of Charlotte Street series, and while I couldn’t wait for Henry Evesham’s book, I honestly wasn’t sure whether I’d connect with a hero who’s a pious evangelical reformer in the context of a love story. But I should have never doubted this author’s gift for delivering a beautifully crafted story that feels authentic and emotionally engaging, no matter what the premise happens to be. A hot virgin minister, a very outsp I can’t even describe what a fan I am of Scarlett Peckham’s magnificent Secrets of Charlotte Street series, and while I couldn’t wait for Henry Evesham’s book, I honestly wasn’t sure whether I’d connect with a hero who’s a pious evangelical reformer in the context of a love story. But I should have never doubted this author’s gift for delivering a beautifully crafted story that feels authentic and emotionally engaging, no matter what the premise happens to be. A hot virgin minister, a very outspoken sex worker, a snowstorm that traps them together for days… Ah, you can cut the sexual angst with a knife! Absolutely stellar start to finish.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Renae

    Absolutely, utterly perfect and adorable. Earnest, virginal Methodist reverends with awkwardly large bodies are an untapped goldmine.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    I adored the first two books in this series, really, but was worried because Henry Evesham is introduced there and his character and actions make it unclear how he can ever be successfully matched in a series that centers around a London whipping house. That is, I saw that Henry, at his core, is not a bad person, but remained unconvinced he could find happiness with the sorts of characters (irreverent, moral individuals who are not obviously people of faith) who tend to populate Peckham's books. I adored the first two books in this series, really, but was worried because Henry Evesham is introduced there and his character and actions make it unclear how he can ever be successfully matched in a series that centers around a London whipping house. That is, I saw that Henry, at his core, is not a bad person, but remained unconvinced he could find happiness with the sorts of characters (irreverent, moral individuals who are not obviously people of faith) who tend to populate Peckham's books. Suffice it to say, I was not precisely expecting an incredibly sensitive, deep exploration of the boundaries between faith and love and an individual's duty to both God and their fellow man. I don't think I even knew to hope for one, that it would be probable or even possible. A gentle blend of unusual kink, deep faith, and historical romance. How refreshing.  I love that Henry's deepest fantasy has a sexual element, absolutely, but is rooted in his desire to have someone take care of him. From that perspective, it's not bizarre at all that his desire manifests in a way that relates to his faith. I am sure that he and Alice's appointment will raise stodgy eyebrows, should they ever bother to read it, but I felt they came together in a beautiful way that was true to both of their natures. I am happy that Alice held out for a time when Henry could accept her without shame. I love that they both refused to live according others' expectations, despite what they were sure would be dire consequences, and both came out hale and hearty and together on the other side of "disgrace." I also love that they waited until they were married, although Henry surely did rush the wedding, lol.  I recently read an essay by Jennifer Cruise that, among other things, pointed out the power of a romance where opposites attract. But when, and ONLY when, the differences cause the individuals involved to grow and change, and when the two are supremely compatible at their cores. In other words, soul mates whose souls find very different routes of expression. Alice and Henry are wonderful examples of this lesson: a genuinely faithful servant of God replete with emotional and sexual hang ups, and a randy whipping governess-in-training who lost her faith long ago. Or, two kind and giving people used to being on the outside looking in, melded together by music and a desire to care for the other. In an attempt to make a long review somewhat shorter, I'll simply say that Henry and Alice's story gave me far more than I expected to find. It is mature and fearless. It has religious, moral, and ethical chops for days. But also warmth, humor, and frank talk about sex. Peckham was already on insta-buy status, but this vaulted her into my exclusive cannot-wait-for-the-next-one-please-please-please realm.  In the interests of full disclosure, I received an ARC by entering a contest run by the author. 

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jess (The Lives of A Reader)

    Wow Wow Wow. I did not expect this to become a new favorite, or for it to be even be that good at all. Hardly any books that sound amazing lately turn out to be anything more than forgettable garbage. That’s why I haven’t been able to finish anything in months. But this . . . was so unexpected. I came across a promo of this book the day after it came out, I believe. And well, this is what sold me on it. Which is OBSCENE, but I loved it ^_^ and I immediately bought and devoured it. The only thing Wow Wow Wow. I did not expect this to become a new favorite, or for it to be even be that good at all. Hardly any books that sound amazing lately turn out to be anything more than forgettable garbage. That’s why I haven’t been able to finish anything in months. But this . . . was so unexpected. I came across a promo of this book the day after it came out, I believe. And well, this is what sold me on it. Which is OBSCENE, but I loved it ^_^ and I immediately bought and devoured it. The only things that could have been remedied was that the author used a good amount of . . . uncommon words. Words that I had to keep visiting the dictionary for time and time again. And don’t get me wrong, I’m all for learning new words while reading; it’s an amazing byproduct of reading and educating yourself but it gets in the way of storytelling when it gets to be more than a couple of times. Other than that, I think the only other thing I can think of is: I just wanted more sexy scenes lol. The slow-burn was top notch, some of the best I’ve ever seen but after the anticipation has built, I just wanna see a little more action ;).

  11. 4 out of 5

    Julia

    This isn’t a proper review. I just needed to explain that, even though I’m trying not to rate books anymore now that I’m published, oh my god, this was a perfect historical romance, and I just can’t help myself. I broke my own rule. That’s how good this is.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Izzy

    I’m such a sucker for finding faith via sex/intimacy. Probably because I’m not religious but this was incredible. Peckham prose is amazing.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Monique

    I'm still stunned after reading this. The writing was beautiful, but not overdone. The lines from 'The Song of Solomon' really added to the overall tone of the story. I LOVE the H/h! Alice was a creative, musical oddball, and Henry was very altruistic (in addition to being a hot, shy preacher - lol). They were real and relatable. 'The Lord I Left' is the fourth book that I've read by Peckham; she has a way of creating truly unforgettable, three-dimensional characters. I'm dying to read the next b I'm still stunned after reading this. The writing was beautiful, but not overdone. The lines from 'The Song of Solomon' really added to the overall tone of the story. I LOVE the H/h! Alice was a creative, musical oddball, and Henry was very altruistic (in addition to being a hot, shy preacher - lol). They were real and relatable. 'The Lord I Left' is the fourth book that I've read by Peckham; she has a way of creating truly unforgettable, three-dimensional characters. I'm dying to read the next book!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Alexa Rowan

    Two genres that aren’t paired too often are inspirational romance and erotic romance. And yet, even though I tend to avoid inspirational romance as Not My Jam, when these two genres are combined, they can be transformed into something that works for me in a big way. (Craving Flight, I’m looking at you!) The Lord I Left does this brilliantly. Scarlett Peckham respects her characters, treating them with grace, compassion, and honesty on their individual and combined journeys of faith, love, and sel Two genres that aren’t paired too often are inspirational romance and erotic romance. And yet, even though I tend to avoid inspirational romance as Not My Jam, when these two genres are combined, they can be transformed into something that works for me in a big way. (Craving Flight, I’m looking at you!) The Lord I Left does this brilliantly. Scarlett Peckham respects her characters, treating them with grace, compassion, and honesty on their individual and combined journeys of faith, love, and self-acceptance. It’s fantastically tropey: opposites attract, virgin hero, snowbound, just one bed. And yet it’s also anti-tropey, subverting traditional inspirational romance themes and arcs in favor of a faith that is no less heartfelt, no less Christian for its incorporation of physical as well as religious ecstasy.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Elisa

    I really enjoyed this one - I can't decide if this, or The Duke I Tempted, is my favorite! Peckham is a wonderful writer, and this book was no exception to the rest of the series (though to be honest, I felt like this book was more sweet than steamy, which is completely fine, and definitely suited the characters and their temperaments.) I did, however, encounter a similar issue to the other books in the series, which was underdevelopment of one of the main characters. This really feels like Henr I really enjoyed this one - I can't decide if this, or The Duke I Tempted, is my favorite! Peckham is a wonderful writer, and this book was no exception to the rest of the series (though to be honest, I felt like this book was more sweet than steamy, which is completely fine, and definitely suited the characters and their temperaments.) I did, however, encounter a similar issue to the other books in the series, which was underdevelopment of one of the main characters. This really feels like Henry's book. You get to know him and empathize with him, but I didn't feel that way about Alice. While you definitely sympathize with her over her family situation, I didn't feel like I truly knew her, and I wanted more from her. I also found the ending a tad disappointing. It felt rushed, and I was eager for an epilogue to see how a minister and a whipping governess were going to find their HEA - does she continue working for Elena? Does he have issues with her fulfilling other men's fantasies? To be honest, this feels more like HFN, and it almost read more like a novella than a full-length novel.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Aila

    4.5 stars out of 5 "Love is where the spirit of God and the nature of man meet. Tenderness, compassion, care, affection, kindness - here is where the best of the carnal meets the highest promise of the spiritual. In love, we can burn double." I've been a big fan of this series since the first book, and am happy to say that each book has gotten better and better for me. I enjoyed The Lord I Left from beginning to end, and afterwards, the only thought I had, was that I wanted more! Peckham reall 4.5 stars out of 5 "Love is where the spirit of God and the nature of man meet. Tenderness, compassion, care, affection, kindness - here is where the best of the carnal meets the highest promise of the spiritual. In love, we can burn double." I've been a big fan of this series since the first book, and am happy to say that each book has gotten better and better for me. I enjoyed The Lord I Left from beginning to end, and afterwards, the only thought I had, was that I wanted more! Peckham really pushes the boundaries of feminist historical romances, in which she explores a lot of themes that the typical HR book wouldn't even come close to. This whole series revolves around the BDSM club on Charlotte Street, so immediately you have a unique premise. But this third book revolves around a Lord Lieutenant working for the church to report the best way to handle prostitutes on the streets and a girl actually working to become a Madam at the club on Charlotte Street. Opposites attract + hate to love + FLAMING CHEMISTRY = very excellent read. Henry is a deeply religious, deeply disciplined man who limits his behavior and controls his temptations on an enormous scale. Lots of self-derision in this one. Alice, on the other hand, is a free soul who is happy to use her body however she wants and says whatever she wants. On the surface level, they seem totally incompatible. But when a storm brings them closer to each other and they start opening up, they find that the other understands them in a way that nobody else can. And UGH if that doesn't pull at my heartstrings. Both characters deal with some character development, although Henry's is far greater. He goes from someone who hates his all-too-human desires to reconciling his religion and his love (as well as, yes, lmao, his kinks). I thought the religious aspects were handled quite well... the book never felt like it was pushing Henry's religion on the reader, and yet readers can still see how much he resonated with the words of God. I enjoyed how despite how religious Henry was, it didn't really quite change Alice's stance on religion (she's not as devout), which I think shows how the purpose of the religion aspect wasn't towards conversion, but more as an in-depth characterization of Henry. I loveddd the steamy scenes (my only wish is more of them!), and thought that Alice (who really understood Henry's temptations) empathized well with him, and he with her. Alice's character growth comes from accepting who she is, rather than hiding her job in London from her family. The dialogue is all very progressive, and I loved both characters. Henry was super sweet and charming (tbh shy guys are soo cute), while Alice was spunky and kinda wild (but a good kinda wild). They both provided an excellent foil to the other, making their chemistry super hot and dialogue very productive. Also, Alice was so empowering!!! She definitely had weaknesses, but her progressive stances during the time made her a welcome character. While the ending added an odd dramatic factor (really not sure why one scene was thrown in, but overall neutral about it), it follows the typical HR formula of forgiving and growing. All in all, the character tensions in this book and chemistry make this my favorite Peckham book yet. I can't wait to see what else she was in store for readers!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Victoria (Eve's Alexandria)

    4.5* This is the third book in Scarlett Peckham’s debut series and, like the others, it pushes boundaries and tests assumptions. It’s a delightfully odd hybrid of inspirational - hero and heroine come to know their love for one another in the light of God - and BDSM erotica, in which (amongst other things) the heroine masturbates on a bed post and the hero fantasises about Mary Magdalene. It’s what you get if you mix together tried and tested romance tropes (road trip, there’s only one bed, oops 4.5* This is the third book in Scarlett Peckham’s debut series and, like the others, it pushes boundaries and tests assumptions. It’s a delightfully odd hybrid of inspirational - hero and heroine come to know their love for one another in the light of God - and BDSM erotica, in which (amongst other things) the heroine masturbates on a bed post and the hero fantasises about Mary Magdalene. It’s what you get if you mix together tried and tested romance tropes (road trip, there’s only one bed, oops we’re snowed in) with moral theology. Henry Evesham, a Methodist minister and writer, has been tasked by parliament with writing a report on eradicating vice in London. His work takes him into the city’s brothels and dark alleys, where he strives to bring the light of his faith. On the outside he is the very picture of virtue and morality. The inside is another matter. Years of restraint, self denial, prayer and vigorous exercise haven’t changed the fact that Henry is burnt up with sinful lust. He allows himself no release, not even at his own hand, but yet his body won’t stop wanting what it wants. He is sorely tested by one woman in particular: Alice Hull, housekeeper and mistress in training at Elena Briarley’s Charlotte Street whipping house. Henry has been to the house several times at Elena’s invitation, in the hope that he might learn something of the benefits of safe, consensual sex work. Instead he leaves haunted by religious sexual fantasies of the dove-eyed Alice, of her ministering to him like the prostitute to Christ in the gospel of Luke. He’s determined not to think of her, except as a lost lamb to lead back to god, but that proves increasingly difficult when the two are forced to travel together, alone, in a very small chaise. Alice’s mother has been taken gravely ill and Henry offers to drive her home on his way to a family reunion. Bad weather, bad luck and salty banter work to waylay them. The pair have a mutual and undeniable attraction but how can they navigate it, when Henry is determined to resist it and Alice is scornful of his chastity? Their understandings of the moral law governing sex are so vastly different, it’s hard to see how they might come together without guilt or recrimination. Peckham explores Henry and Alice’s central conflict with a sympathy and grace that acknowledges both Henry’s faith and Alice’s sexual experience. In doing so she centralises one of romance’s great questions: how might we come to own our desires (for sex, for care, for love), and through owning those desires become more truly ourselves? More challengingly, how might two apparently opposite people do this together to create a partnership, in such a way that their autonomy and differences are respected? Highly recommended. Although I would suggest reading both The Duke I Tempted and The Earl I Ruined too (because they’re brilliant) there is no need to read this one in order. The pairings from the previous books make a cameo towards the end, but knowing their stories isn’t necessary.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Heather Clawson

    In the third book in her Secrets of Charlotte Street series, Scarlett Peckham tells the story of a minister who preaches to prostitutes and a woman who aspires to be a whipping governess - a most unlikely duo, but somehow Peckham weaves a tale that is both believable and full of emotion. The most striking thing about this novel was how real the characters felt while you were reading. Lord Lieutenant Henry Evesham, a Methodist evangelical, who had appeared as an antagonist in the previous book in In the third book in her Secrets of Charlotte Street series, Scarlett Peckham tells the story of a minister who preaches to prostitutes and a woman who aspires to be a whipping governess - a most unlikely duo, but somehow Peckham weaves a tale that is both believable and full of emotion. The most striking thing about this novel was how real the characters felt while you were reading. Lord Lieutenant Henry Evesham, a Methodist evangelical, who had appeared as an antagonist in the previous book in the series (The Earl I Ruined), is in this novel humanized as a man who is constantly struggling between faith and earthly desires. Both from his point of view (full of parenthetical asides that add needed levity to an otherwise heavy book) and from snippets of his journal, we see him grappling with himself and his faith in a way that feels fully authentic. The heroine, Alice Hull, who is a housekeeper at the highly secretive Charlotte Street whipping club, also deals with her own issues of lost faith and balancing one’s own desires with doing what one believes to be the right thing. Overall this is another excellent book by Scarlett Peckham. As in the previous two books in the series, this novel is especially angst-ridden, and it is a hard-won battle for the protagonists to get to their happy-ever-after. In the end, though, the struggle (and the read) is worth it! Can’t wait to see what this author does next!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Taryn

    I’ve now loved both Scarlett Peckham books I’ve read, so signs are looking good that she’s secured a spot on my auto-buy list. This one is somehow SO HAWT despite the actual on-page sexytimes not being particularly scandalous. There’s just so much BUILD-UP and HESITATION and NO WE SHOULDN’T except WHAT IF WE DID and OH WE REALLY SHOULD. The sexual tension is palpable, I tell you. Henry is a Methodist minister (which makes him a rebel, or at least an oddity, in 1700s England) and on a mission to I’ve now loved both Scarlett Peckham books I’ve read, so signs are looking good that she’s secured a spot on my auto-buy list. This one is somehow SO HAWT despite the actual on-page sexytimes not being particularly scandalous. There’s just so much BUILD-UP and HESITATION and NO WE SHOULDN’T except WHAT IF WE DID and OH WE REALLY SHOULD. The sexual tension is palpable, I tell you. Henry is a Methodist minister (which makes him a rebel, or at least an oddity, in 1700s England) and on a mission to save the souls of brothel workers. Alice is an apprentice to a whipping governess in just such an establishment. Clearly, no manufactured conflict here! They end up on a road trip together when Alice gets bad news of her family and Henry chivalrously offers to escort her home. Unchivalrous thoughts, however, plague Henry from the outset and events conspire on their journey to weaken his resolve to ignore Alice’s many charms. Incredibly compelling, and gave me a lot to think about regarding sex work and religion.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Liv

    objectively it was a good book, well-written and well-developed, and the subject was so promising, but it just didn’t click for me, i guess? it’s really an it’s-not-you-it’s-me situation, so yall shouldnt put much stock in this rating

  21. 5 out of 5

    Robyn

    Well, per usual, this is steamy. Also more more God-affirming that I expected. All in all, it is a wonderful love story, but I think I missed the society hijinks of the Ton of the other novels and it was not quite as satisfying as the first two. However, if you need a good snowbound romance novel, this one is it!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Timitra

    The Lord I Left is a sensual and sexy read that deals with faith and vice. Both of the main characters, Henry and Alice come from different spectrums in so many ways especially their professions, so much so that you wouldn't think a romance between them could work, that it could be believable but it is. They complement each other on pretty much every level. I loved that and I enjoyed their journey and I'm very much looking forward to reading the next book in the series as well as the previous bo The Lord I Left is a sensual and sexy read that deals with faith and vice. Both of the main characters, Henry and Alice come from different spectrums in so many ways especially their professions, so much so that you wouldn't think a romance between them could work, that it could be believable but it is. They complement each other on pretty much every level. I loved that and I enjoyed their journey and I'm very much looking forward to reading the next book in the series as well as the previous books. Copy won in a contest hosted by author

  23. 5 out of 5

    Amber

    The Secrets of Charlotte Street series has been a fun historical ride of romance and kink. The Lord I Left had one of the purest romances in the series. Henry was an evangelist who spent most of his career writing about sin and depravity. Alice was a housekeeper and mistress-in-training at Charlotte Street and hated Henry's narrow-mindedness. Their romance was sweet as we watched them reveal themselves bit by bit while journeying to their respective homes. There was a bit of drama that felt over The Secrets of Charlotte Street series has been a fun historical ride of romance and kink. The Lord I Left had one of the purest romances in the series. Henry was an evangelist who spent most of his career writing about sin and depravity. Alice was a housekeeper and mistress-in-training at Charlotte Street and hated Henry's narrow-mindedness. Their romance was sweet as we watched them reveal themselves bit by bit while journeying to their respective homes. There was a bit of drama that felt over the top towards the end, but once the focus returned to Alice and Henry, I forgot all of my complaints.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Megs

    I have adored all of the books in the series, but this is by far and away my favorite to date. I read it in one setting, and immediately connected with both characters. The (tortured) attraction and chemistry is palpable between the MCs. I’ll admit that I panicked in the first half of the book when I was sure there was no way Henry and Alice could settle their huge and fundamental differences, but the author wove a beautiful ending that was emotional, believable, and happy. I received an ARC fro I have adored all of the books in the series, but this is by far and away my favorite to date. I read it in one setting, and immediately connected with both characters. The (tortured) attraction and chemistry is palpable between the MCs. I’ll admit that I panicked in the first half of the book when I was sure there was no way Henry and Alice could settle their huge and fundamental differences, but the author wove a beautiful ending that was emotional, believable, and happy. I received an ARC from the author for being on her mailing list, but I’ve also preordered my own copy.

  25. 4 out of 5

    RabbitRodney

    Although the inner dialogue was a lot more religious-y than I expected, I did not find it preachy or off putting but obviously your mileage may vary. Also, if you love it when (view spoiler)[ the hero half heartedly says I Love You/proposes and the heroine is like naw dude not if you're making me do the work/half-assing it and then the dude levels up (hide spoiler)] then you'll be pleased to know this book has it. Full disclosure: I received a free copy from the author (I'm on her mailing list Although the inner dialogue was a lot more religious-y than I expected, I did not find it preachy or off putting but obviously your mileage may vary. Also, if you love it when (view spoiler)[ the hero half heartedly says I Love You/proposes and the heroine is like naw dude not if you're making me do the work/half-assing it and then the dude levels up (hide spoiler)] then you'll be pleased to know this book has it. Full disclosure: I received a free copy from the author (I'm on her mailing list and won a copy).

  26. 5 out of 5

    elizabeth • paper ghosts

    4.5 stars - so very close to being a 5 star read I've enjoyed all of the Charlotte Street novels so far, but this last one is definitely my favorite by a mile. The characters were deep and dimensional. They had flaws and passions. Scarlett Peckham writes historical romance in a way that I just can't seem to put down. This one had me up until 4 am because I had to finish it. I actually cried. I don't think I've ever cried over a historical romance before. The way Peckham weaved religion and desire 4.5 stars - so very close to being a 5 star read I've enjoyed all of the Charlotte Street novels so far, but this last one is definitely my favorite by a mile. The characters were deep and dimensional. They had flaws and passions. Scarlett Peckham writes historical romance in a way that I just can't seem to put down. This one had me up until 4 am because I had to finish it. I actually cried. I don't think I've ever cried over a historical romance before. The way Peckham weaved religion and desire into this book is something beyond the typical romance genre. She is somehow so respectful of religion and Henry's beliefs, but also makes every interaction so deliciously erotic. I'm not a religious person by any means, but some of the story even felt to me like it bordered on inspirational, but still maintained an undercurrent of sensuality the entire time. The romance was a tortuously slow burn, but with such an intense boil over point that I *ahem* may have had to read it more than once...or twice. But herein lies the problem for me, as it has in the past three books. It all has to do with end. Spoiler tags for obvious reasons. (view spoiler)[In all 3 Charlotte Street novels so far, when the HEA has arrived, and our hero and heroine sort out their misconceptions and miscommunications, when they should be at their peak point of love and sensuality...the scenes dry up. Peckham writes these masterfully erotic sex scenes for her characters, but in the end when they've accepted everything about one another, they start to feel rushed and we get a sharp turn into lack of details. I by no means need a sex scene every other chapter, but what I do want is to linger with the finally happy couple for one last, exquisite embrace. It was especially true in this one, when I fell so in love with Henry and Alice together. Passion and desire have been such a warring force in their relationship, and when they're finally married, when Henry is officially losing his virginity, it's vague and over in a matter of a few sentences. Where was his intense inner monologue that we've been privy to the entire rest of the novel? Where were Alice's sharp observances, and her wonderment at watching him discover her and her body? Again, I'm emphasizing that I don't require explicit sex scenes to enjoy a romance, but when it feels like a story has been building to one momentous occasion, for it to only fizzle at the end...It's just a bit disappointing. If Henry and Alice's wedding night had been given the same love and attention as their scenes in the roadside inn, this would've easily been a 5 star read and one of my favorite historical romances of all time. (hide spoiler)] But beyond that, Peckham is an author that I will, hands down, read everything she writes. Her writing is beautiful, filled with raw emotion and sharp societal observation. Her stories have a feminist edge to them and shake up many of the typical romance tropes with delicious results. Especially in #3, the characters are both given equal opportunities to express their views and to understand one another, and miscommunications between them may result in hurt feelings, but they (refreshingly!) realize that the other may have a point, and maybe that they were in the wrong. Her stories are about more than two people falling in love - they're about people learning to love themselves, and accepting who they are, flaws and all. They don't compromise themselves as individuals or what they believe in, but manage to find the balance in between. The characters are all true individuals, and never feel like carbon copies of the same hero/heroine role. I absolutely cannot wait to see what Peckham does next.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Amber

    I enjoyed this, and it was well-written, but I also didn't find it nearly as addictive or compulsively readable as the previous two books. I think this was largely due to the heroine. Alice was likeable enough, I suppose, but I just didn't find her interesting, especially as a foil to the hero, who is super buttoned-up and repressed (usually my catnip). Alice's emotional journey is already complete when the book begins: she knows her own desires and ambitions and feels no shame or guilt for them I enjoyed this, and it was well-written, but I also didn't find it nearly as addictive or compulsively readable as the previous two books. I think this was largely due to the heroine. Alice was likeable enough, I suppose, but I just didn't find her interesting, especially as a foil to the hero, who is super buttoned-up and repressed (usually my catnip). Alice's emotional journey is already complete when the book begins: she knows her own desires and ambitions and feels no shame or guilt for them. She's attracted to Hero, but early on makes peace with the fact that even if they end up in bed together, they're not suited as a couple. Very empowering - but kind of boring, and not very romantic. The hero is an interesting character, a tightly wound ball of repression, iron willpower, and self-denial. And yet he's not as interesting as he ought to have been. It's never clear quite where or how he acquired this extreme a degree of self-negation. The hero's crisis of faith over what morality should guide the laws around prostitution is also never quite allowed its full complexity. This particularly annoyed me because it was an issue I was really interested in! I wanted him and the heroine to have better and more arguments about it, and for them both to have wrong and right ideas. As it is, the heroine is simply Right throughout, and the plot is basically waiting for the hero to plod his way along to the exact same Right.

  28. 4 out of 5

    chatshire

    4.5 // I always adore romances with such a tight focus on MCs and their relationship. Luckiest Lady in London is an old favorite because of the lack of external conflict - I was just riveted by the leads themselves. This book is ALL internal, from clashing of principles and faith, complex love for toxic families to torturous religious shame of feeling human desires. I have enjoyed none of "priest romance" books before this because frankly, all of them are gimmicky and have nothing nuanced to say 4.5 // I always adore romances with such a tight focus on MCs and their relationship. Luckiest Lady in London is an old favorite because of the lack of external conflict - I was just riveted by the leads themselves. This book is ALL internal, from clashing of principles and faith, complex love for toxic families to torturous religious shame of feeling human desires. I have enjoyed none of "priest romance" books before this because frankly, all of them are gimmicky and have nothing nuanced to say about such a meaty subject. Henry and Alice were very fleshed out characters. Their internal angst and the slow burn road to overcoming their conflicting beliefs was the exact type of suffering I wanted. Also, this book brought a newfound appreciation for one specific scenario I'd love to see more: characters coming to their partner's defense and publicly eviscerating their horrible family. RUIN THAT FAMILY DINNER, QUEEN

  29. 5 out of 5

    Emmi

    I got way too little sleep last night, and it's all Scarlett Peckham's fault. I read the first two books in this series, liked the first, loved the second, and this is by far my favorite in the series. I couldn't put it down. I love forced proximity (there's only one bed!) so I knew it had potential. But then, Henry. Oh my heart, Henry. I loved Alice's free spirit and her pursuit of an authentic life for herself, but Henry stole my heart and then broke it and then filled it back up again. There' I got way too little sleep last night, and it's all Scarlett Peckham's fault. I read the first two books in this series, liked the first, loved the second, and this is by far my favorite in the series. I couldn't put it down. I love forced proximity (there's only one bed!) so I knew it had potential. But then, Henry. Oh my heart, Henry. I loved Alice's free spirit and her pursuit of an authentic life for herself, but Henry stole my heart and then broke it and then filled it back up again. There's something about a big, sturdy mad who looks strong and contained on the outside, but on the inside, he's deeply sensitive, deeply well-meaning and so hard on himself. I expected to be annoyed by his obsession with his religion, but at his core he just desperately wanted to do good and be good. I haven't wanted to hug a hero that much in a while. I'm so glad he found his Alice and I'm so glad I got to read this story.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Maureen Lubitz

    The Lord I Left by Scarlett Peckham 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 The Lord I Left by Scarlett Peckham 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 her Rakess book due out later this year. Originally posted on You Have Your Hands Full

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