I got this ARC from Netgalley and this is my honest review of it.
Harry the eldest son and heir of the Duke of Breconbridge has pursued the beautiful J...moreI got this ARC from Netgalley and this is my honest review of it.
Harry the eldest son and heir of the Duke of Breconbridge has pursued the beautiful Julia Wetherby into the country to ask her to marry him. This is only her latest ploy in their courtship but hes confident that once he manages to make his feelings known she will be his.
After all he is handsome,rich and one of his ancestors were a King (albeit this was out of wedlock) After she suggest they take an early morning ride he happily agrees seeing it as the perfect moment to propose marriage without being disturbed.
But the horse wich he is assigned is difficult to handle and when Julia thoughtlessy jumps out from behind a bush she scares his horse so much that it rears causing Harry to fall and hit his head and break his leg.
Julia not being the most solid rock to lean runs off and he loses consciouness. The next thing he knows is that a young woman who he first assumes is a servant is taking care to have him treated for his injuries and bring him back to the house.
Of course she is not a servant at all but Julias younger sister Augusta,called Gus.
Despite Gus and their father telling her to take responsibility by attending to her almost fianceeiInstead of staying and taking care of him Julia goes back to London because she cant stand any sort of unpleasantness and dont want to have to marry a cripple as Harry might end up to be.
Their father goes after her and leaves Gus to take care of Harry,who is between life and death for some time but recovers and startscreate more work for Gus by sending for his private musicians,his dogs.Leaving her to have to make room and board for them. He also wants her to spend time with him since he gets bored.
Gus is equally charmed and exsperated at his behavior. But how could he ever want someone plain and ordinary like her when his preference seems to be for beautiful and women like her sister? Its best not to get her hopes up
She is also trying to keep him from learning that her sister has abandoned him and is partying in London.
.The nursing back to health plot while falling in love is hardly a new one in the world of historical romances. Its also not my favorite plotline but this had other things going for it like the fact that it is set in the 18th century,one of my favorite periods when it comes to historical romances and I had read another book by this author wich I liked. Might as well give it a chance.
I thought Harry was a complete idiot at first and then he had his accident and changed. Wish this transition had been more gradually as Harry before his accident seemed for a lack of a better word weak in his personality and a bit too easily pushed around.
His character got better and more likeable as the book went on and he started to have to make compromises and face the reality that his life was a very different one now after his accident. That is not to say he doesnt get mopy but he snaps out of it when realizes he has to be there for Gus.
I liked Gus personality shes not one of those aggressive and feisty heroines that makes you groan because they have to be right all the time and get their will. Shes tries to do her best and is confident in her abilities in running a household but a bit naive when it comes to her own feelings and dealing with men like Harry. She does call him out for his behavior once or twice and doesnt let him use her as a doormat.
I liked that the author didnt just have Harrys leg heal magically without reprecussions of any kind. His frustration felt very real to me and knowing personally someone who has had leg surgery the recovery is long and takes a lot of work and yes even in this day and age some people will make fun of you.
It was also interesting to learn that excercise machines like the chamber horse existed in the 18th century.
I did wish that Julia had suffered some consequences from her actions.As a character she feels like a plot device and is very one-dimensional.
While this has a few uneven bits its a solid romance if you can manage to overlook the fact that for one ,I dont think a man would ask a girl to marry him before he had talked with her father nor do I think a young lady would have been allowed to stay behind without as much a chaperone to keep up apperances ,no matter if the man is invalided.
I mean his leg might be broken but his hands and mouth are still working ;) I also noticed some grammatical errors in the book and a location name mysteriously changes from Mildenhall to Mendenhall in the course of the book. I expect they will be corrected in the final version of this book.(less)
The heroine Marietta is unhappily married to the womanizing and neglectful Dario Gatti who suddenly dies after eating bad meat
After his death she is s...moreThe heroine Marietta is unhappily married to the womanizing and neglectful Dario Gatti who suddenly dies after eating bad meat
After his death she is summoned and told unceremoniously by her horrible mother in law to get out.She will get an yearly allowance but she is no longer a part of their family.
She was always hated by the Signora Gatti for not being good enough for her son and when she finds out the Signora has had all her paintings burned.Marietta says good riddance and leaves feeling she can finally be free.
She decides to return to Venice to make peace with her estranged father but on the way the carriage she is travelling in gets stuck in mud and she and the other passengers are left stranded. Luckily another carriage belonging nobleman Nico Foscari arrives and invites the passengers to his familys villa.
Marietta early on takes his measure and realize he is a bit of a rake and quite possibly a cad too. Albeit a charming and handsome one but still a rake who likes to throw around innuendos and try and discomfit her.And she then discovers that Nico is nearly blind and relies on his friend and former tutor to be his eyes (and sometimes his ears too)
He likes to use his disability to throw other people off their guard as most people assume he is totally blind and therefore helpless. He is bitter about his blindness since it means he is dependent on other people and not being able to do something worthwhile with his life he tries to fill his time with women wine and cards. His own father considers him a failure and embarrasment.
When Marietta finds out through Nico that her father has been dead for two months and it was stated to be a fatal accident. But something doesnt quite add up with this story and when she arrives in Venice and start to investigate her doubt about it being accidental grows. Could it be one of his noble patrons who had him murdered.
But this is Venice and asking too many questions can be dangerous so Marietta has to use her the wit she has at her disposal and even dress up in mens clothing to get inside these noblemens houses to find evidence.
And wherever she goes Nico Foscari seems to appear and delight in teasing her and take an interest what she is up to.
So what did I think of this book? Well...
The setting of 18th Century Venice makes this book stand out a bit from other historical romances but apart from including carnival in the plot and mentioning ridottos and some historical personages from that time I felt the potential of the setting was very underutilized.
The same thing with its two main characters who have could have been fleshed out more and would have benefited from a exploration of its characters motives and ambition.Its more or less spelled out by another character why the hero is such a devil may care. and often Nico appears very immature in comparision to Marietta.
I did like her character quite a bit but even she displayed a bit of whats the problem with the characterization in this book.for example after Marietta arrives in Venice she often forgets about her marriage that is supposed to have been unbearable unless the author have to bring it it up to explain the heroines reluctance to fall in love with the hero (or at least fall into his bed)
I felt that this book could have used some editing since sometimes the characters talk and act like genuone 18th Century people to suddenly go all modern on you.It was very jarring.
And the situation with the antagonist wrapped up too easily in my opinion and feels quite anticlimatic.Almost apologetic and "truly honestly we didnt mean it" I never got what they actually hoped to accomplish with their plan. It was all a bit vague and never got a proper conclusion.
Furthermore the historical character of Casanova who is one of Nicos close friends is nicknamed "Cas" by Nico and his character is also shoehorned into being a romantic interest of Nicos sister.. I am sorry but I wasnt really rooting for this and felt he could just have easily been edited out or replaced with an original character.
So in conclusion this is a book that had much potential but falls short due to it being inconsistent. But in the end I cant say I hated it as there are some fun dialogue in it and I did care about what the heroine was going through.
Taken from Kirkus Reviews A floppy 18th-century romance of very little brain. Kate Lawson, impoverished orphan of genteel background, has managed to p...moreTaken from Kirkus Reviews A floppy 18th-century romance of very little brain. Kate Lawson, impoverished orphan of genteel background, has managed to place herself as a governess in a household headed by a handsome unmarried man, Captain Max Oakland. The Captain is the uncle of ten-year-old Amy, an unholy terror who has sent a string of governesses packing and who is too much for adoring father Ernest and stepma Julie--a hot-potato of over-perfumed, sizzling beauty. (Julie is supposedly a French Ã‰migrÃ‰, but Kate detects a Cockney tinge in her French-accented tirades.) The Oakland house is noisy. Amy screams; Julie shrieks down curses from her slovenly bedroom while deep in her cups; Max and Ernest bellow. While Kate wins over motherless Amy, much of the conversation consists of rapidly infatuated Max asking Kate if she's going to stay and Kate changing her mind with every new nasty turn of events. Getting rid of Julie is on everyone's mind, of course, but it's poor Ernest who gets the poisoned mushrooms (thoughtfully cooked by Julie). One more murder, a brothel excursion to rescue one of Julie's victims, and some trickery by clever Amy--and Julie is finally, literally, toppled. Simple-minded but harmless.(less)
**spoiler alert** Charlotte Wylder lives with her mothers and sisters out in the country after her father died while she was a child and her mother so...more**spoiler alert** Charlotte Wylder lives with her mothers and sisters out in the country after her father died while she was a child and her mother sought to to protect her children from the wicked ways of the ton. Life is nice but a bit dull...
All that changes when they are informed that before he died,her father contracted a marriage for Charlotte with the Duke of Marchbourne so the family and especially Charlotte is amazed and overjoyed at this turn of event.
They then travel to London to meet her betrothed.
Charlotte and March first meeting is far from conventional as March was so eager (and nervous) to meet his intended that he rode out and caught Charlotte just as she was trying to retrieve her sisters kitten who had climbed a tree.
March is taken aback by Charlottes behavior but not in a bad way ;)
Later they meet again and share a heated kiss wich only convinces them that they are meant to be married.March even pushes the date for their wedding ahead,wich Charlotte is flattered but also a bit nervous about since she had hoped they would have time to get to know each other a bit better and also prepare her mentally to leave her mother and sisters.
So they are married and its a wonderful day for both of them. March brings Charlotte back to his,and now her home too.
Then their wedding night comes and they tumble into bed and... well lets just say things goes very well for the both of them. *hint hint*
But afterwards March is digusted at the ungentlemanly way he "used" Charlotte and assures her the next day that she will never have to be subjected to such behavior EVER AGAIN.
Charlotte is confused since she liked their time in bed but since her husband has showed such a disgust at this she cant help but wonder if her behavior was wanton and not fitting a duchess.
So they start their married life together and March is as attentive as ever to her in the day but in the nights things are not so great.With March trying to curb his "baser nature" and Charlotte having to contain herself so she is not percieved as a bad girl by March.
Then there is London society to contend with also,many of whose members are far from pleasant people.
This is a historical romance where the hero and heroine start out liking each other very well but with the actual love coming later. Some could say their relationship is a bit too perfect,but yes while its very sweet the story doesnt start until after they are married and they find out that they have to get to know each other better.
I liked both the hero and heroine very much,they are just very nice people. March has his demons though but they havent led him into a life of vice and rakedom,instead he tries to be ever the perfect english gentleman to such a degree he denies himself happiness.
Charlotte is young and a bit naive but she truly cares about her husband wish she could find a way to help him take down his walls.When it finally happens its a very sweet moment.
Even if it involves climbing a tree or two.
I give this 3,5 stars could have been 4 but there is a scene at the very end that stretched my imagination to its limits.