Author: Marilize Roos
Publisher: Marilize Roos
Publication Date: September 10, 2020
Shelves: Female-authored, female-fronted
Although the polyamorous love triangle that defines Kevin would work wonderfully in a contemporary setting, the historical aspect – with the morales, values, and prejudices of the era – gives it added poignancy, transforming a bold love into something truly brave.
What makes this such a wonderful read is the depth of the characters and the complexity of their shared relationship. Despite his rakish past and indiscretions, Kevin is a decent man who stands by his word. Alicia and Isobel are two of those indiscretions, one of whom he’s forced to marry after ruining her reputation, the other of whom he should have married after getting her pregnant. Alicia is a strong woman who is secretly damaged, afraid to be loved, and even more afraid to be intimate, while Isobel refuses to see herself as damaged, eager to be loved but reluctant to be intimate for different reasons.
It is Alicia who brings the three of them together, inviting her husband’s mistress to share their home – and, ultimately, his affections. She sees it as a perfect solution, freeing her of wifely duties while allowing him to care for the mother of his child . . . but it is Isobel who makes the three of them work, inviting her lover’s wife to share their bed. It’s the unexpected intimacy between the two women that transforms the relationship, and society’s disapproval only heightens the emotional bonds.
For all the romance, there is a lot of darkness to the story, a lot of pain and sorrow behind the love. Alicia’s story is a tragic one, and understanding why she struggles so much to accept Kevin’s affections is key to the whole story – and leads to a moment so beautiful that I sobbed. There’s darkness to Isobel’s story as well, and the whole book pivots on the confrontation between her father and Kevin.
An entirely unorthodox romance, Kevin works because of the way Marilize Roos juxtaposes the emotional elements within the historical setting. There are so many little moments where this could have so easily shifted into a safer, more standard romance, but in taking the difficult route she makes of it something beautiful.
Rating: ♀ ♀ ♀ ♀ 1/2