tried-and-true romance trope, and I began to tire of it after the second book. I was intrigued by this novel, however, because it uses another plot device that is done far less often -- making a villain from a past book into the hero.
That is not to say that the idea is new. It has been done often enough, but it is rarely done well. Often, the character seems to undergo a personality transplant between books. I am curious to see how Gray handles it. So far, she seems to be implying that the characters in A Gentleman Never Tells were mistaken in their perceptions as to the depths of the Earl of Somerton's villainy.
The damaged hero trope became very popular in the 1990s, largely thanks to the works of Laura Kinsale. She is a master at writing about damaged but redeemable heroes. My personal favorites from her are Flowers from the Storm and Seize the Fire. She eventually took the next step and wrote Shadowheart, which features a brutal medieval villain from her previous romance For My Lady's Heart. I loved FMLH, but I have avoided reading Shadowheart because the description of the plot turned me off. There was a time when I read romances about women being forced to marry their captors, but that trope has long since lost its appeal for me.
I am looking forward to learning whether I can appreciate a hero whom I first encountered as a villain.