Waiting for this book, in particular, has been a lesson in patience. Return to the House of Sin, the fourth and final book in the Bastards of London series, is a prime example of Anabelle Bryant's expertise in bringing a lost cause back from the brink and making him into a hero. Crispin Daventry, Lord Hastings, made a hasty exit of London after the "love of his life" marries one of the Bastards, and loses a mound of money at the Underworld. He runs from everyone who loves him, even the sister who was his best friend.
Wasting his life away in over-excess and debauchery has taken its toll on Crispin, who has resolved, though not wholeheartedly, to return to London to exact revenge on the gaming hell, The Underworld and the proprietor who stole his love. Crsipin has gained a fortune in his time away from London and will use all at his disposal to regain his reputation. Traveling back to London from Italy on a ship along with his mischievous friend the Count of Este.
Lady Amanda Beasley, daughter of the earl of Huntindon was supposed to travel to France from Italy with her widowed father and her sister, but circumstances separate the family members, and Amanda ends up on the wrong ship headed to England while her family board their ship to France. Frantic and without help, Amanda stows away in the first open chamber she finds, which happens to be Crispin's. What a dilemma!
Crispin is trying so hard to turn over a new leaf, but Amanda is a tempting morsel. Between attempting to keep her presence a secret from everyone on the ship to keeping himself , Crispin becomes a steadfast friend to Amanda whilst keeping her hidden from the crew. He makes sure she has food and drink and even comforts her when she falls ill. Amanda has never had any type of relationship with a man, but she falls into complacency with Crispin's friendship. Dare she he ever hope for anything else? Crispin continually pushes back his emerging feeling for Amanda knowing she would make someone a perfect wife, just not him. He was far too heartbroken to accept any new possibilities of love.
Once the ship docks in English waters and Amanda and Crsipin go their separate ways, but the inevitable happens when Crispin and Amanda begin to see one another at ton events. Denying the undeniable is a task neither will win when feelings eventually tear down the walls that both Amanda and Crispin have erected around their hearts, and the journey to the point of no return is sublime.
Author, Anabelle Bryant has written a superb send off to the Bastards of London and everything is as it should be in the land surrounding the Underworld. Miss Bryant takes a character that readers had come to dislike through his actions in the past and wondrously redeem his to the point of his becoming a favorite hero in this tale. Amanda Beasley and he sensual innocence becomes the catalyst in this redemption, making RETURN TO THE HOUSE OF SIN one of my favorite books this year. I highly recommend this, and any expertly written book written by the ever talented, Anabelle Bryant.