A Smart Heroine Who Will Not Be Ignored
I adored this book! Regency is probably my favorite subgenre of historical romance, and this writer did it up right!
The hero and heroine formerly courted, but James broke it off before he went to fight in the Napoleonic wars (second son), not wanting to have Sophia wait in case he didn’t return. He does return two months later after both his father and elder brother die in what he thinks are mysterious circumstances. Now the earl, he is determined to figure out what happened to his father and brother, and he is determined to keep Sophia safe by not resuming the courtship while he still feels his family is in danger. He tells her decidedly that she must look elsewhere for a husband (all the while wishing that man could be him!). While James was away, Sophia kept up her friendship with his sister. She hasn’t completely forgiven him for severing the courtship, but she knows he is the one man for her. She convinces him to at least let her continue being friends with his sister, but she is definitely hoping he will change his mind about marrying her.
Sophia was written beautifully! She’s a smart lady, one that other books would derisively call a “bluestocking,” but in this book, she talks about current breakthroughs in steam technology and her informed opinions of what the future will be like without anyone saying that a woman should know or understand these kinds of things. That happens a lot in historical romance but not here. Quite refreshing! She also is adept at playing a cat-and-mouse game with James. They banter and tease each other in a way that you can’t be helped but caught up in; she often gets the upperhand in the conversation.
The author also has a good sense of plot structure. For example, at the quarter mark (end of Act 1), the romance story line heats up AND James gets a clue that will lead him in his investigations of the circumstances around his father’s and brother’s deaths (found by Sophia no less!).
The book is meant to be a sweet version of her more steamy The Earl’s Bride, but their attraction (and the ways they acted on it) were still satisfying. I find myself wondering how she wrote the other version.
If you like Regency romance, I think you will enjoy this slightly different take on the genre!