My review contains spoilers and they're mostly my thoughts as I went with the book...
A nice conclusion to Karyn Gerrard’s Blind Cupid series, The Copper and the Madam was a pleasant surprise, especially when I didn’t know what I’d feel for the heroine who is the infamous madam of a famous brothel with the same name as the series. She has been featured in all the other books, but I never thought that she’ll have a story of her own to tell.
The Blind Cupid series basically features characters from this brothel, who find love in the most unlikely places. Book 1, The Blind Cupid, featured Desmond, the most popular gigolo of the brothel. He goes on a call to ‘entertain’ a certain spinster, Anne... Though a bit hasty and unbelievable, they fall in love in one night and Desmond decides to leave the brothel where he has been almost all his life.
Book 2, The Governess and the Beast, was an ok read for me. It was about another prostitute called Lila. After a traumatic experience at the brothel, where she was raped and bloodied by a customer, Lila gives up the profession in search of a better life. Abbess Rea, the Madam of the Blind Cupid, helps her achieve her goal. But when she visits Lord Stonecliff’s home, expecting to be hired as a governess for his ward, things change for Lila too. It turns out Lord Stonecliff has his own secrets to hide and a way to blackmail Lila to do his bidding... which is to occupy his bed. Lila is not forced to do anything, mind you, and her life changes for the better because ultimately, she finds love in a scarred man.
The Copper and the Madam actually begins couple of years before the time-frame of book 1 and 2. It concerns Desmond and because of him, detective Rory and Abbess Rea come to be introduced to each-other. I don’t remember now if Rory was featured in the other two books but Rea, whose real name is Rhiannon, has been attracted to him ever since day one. But because of her profession and because she considers herself aged (aged 34 or so), plump and unattractive, Rea never dared expressing her interest. Rory promised to check up on Desmond, which is why he visited the brothel once a month these past years without fail. Generally, he takes dinner with Rea, there are some small talks too. And before leaving, he’s free to avail himself to the service of one of the girls of the brothel. All for free, courtesy of Rea herself.
But here is the twist, Rea would also watch him do it with her girls... I should’ve been disturbed (and disgusted) by this but I ended up feeling sad for her. Rhiannon has her own heartbreaking secret that she kept hidden away, something that happened to her the first day she started ‘working’. Let me tell you, it was not a happy one. She was traumatized and the next few years that she worked before acquiring The Blind Cupid, Rhiannon hated every moment of sex and being used by virtual strangers. Yet, Rory is the only man, who, in so many years made her want to do it with him. She burned for him but didn’t think she’d ever get what her girls are getting… until one day Rory gives her the indication that not only he wants her, has wanted her for a long time but also that he knows she watches him in the act. He confronts her about it, to know if she really harbors any attraction for him that might lead to a mutual agreement.
Rhiannon reluctantly agrees, not knowing what to do, leaving Rory surprised. He actually thought Rhiannon had no interest in him. Upon knowing her past, Rory is concerned, so he decides to take things slowly. He begins opening up too, in hopes that this might be the beginning of something new.
But things weren’t going to be as easy for Rhiannon and Rory. Though she loves spending time with Rory, one day, one of Rhiannon’s boys is brutally murdered by a sadistic psycho. Rory is promptly called in and is given the duty to notify her. After some detective work, and Rhiannon’s help, they zoom into one suspect; the one man who was responsible for abusing Lila. Because ‘REA’ was carved into the boy’s body, Rory begins to think that she’s in danger and needs his protection. At the same time, he’s also very determined to work and take their relationship to a new level, even if it sounds ludicrous. Who could understand Rhiannon’s plight better than he? After all, Rory’s mother was also a street-worker. He has seen plenty of ugly things in his life to learn not to judge anyone so hastily.
Rory has already felt that Rhiannon’s affection for him is much deeper than simple lust. He can say the same... if only things were that easy, they’d be together forever. But first, there’s the murder. Then they both have to overcome some of their own personal demons to reach an understanding that can surpass beyond lust and sex. Question remains, can they do it together?
I did love the ending, because I thought Rory and Rhiannon deserved something good between them, but wasn’t sure about the second romance between one of Rory’s juniors, another detective named Cian and Rhiannon’s cook, a pretty girl named Caroline. Though I definitely felt that spark and the connection between the two, I wasn’t sure if to believe in their hasty romance. They don’t get their HEA in this story, and I was expecting another installment, until I read that this is going to be the last installment in the series. I can only say that I’d love to see what happens next to Cian and Catherine, if they have their own book in future or not.