This was a light, easy to read, Regency romance with a beta hero and a style of writing almost reminiscent of Julia Quinn. I haven’t read the other novels in this series, and there were many characters that made reappearances. I did feel like I have missed out on some interesting stories reading this out of order, but it didn’t detract from the current book. This is also the first novel I have read by Valerie Bowman.
Christian Bancroft, Viscount Berkley encounters Miss Sarah Highgate in his Scottish hunting lodge one winter evening. She has fled London to escape an unwanted betrothal and was fleeing to her father’s hunting lodge but instead got lost and ended up at Christian’s lodge. Christian being the noble gentleman, helps Sarah to find her way back to England without scandal in exchange for her help in making him more attractive on the marriage mart of the ton. In the few days they spend together at the lodge, they realise they are quite similar and what they are both seeking could be right under their noses!
I struggled to finish this and I really had to force myself to finish. I also skim read a lot of scenes (which I almost never do!). At the beginning, Christian and Sarah both sounded interesting: Christian a beta hero who has been friend zoned a lot and Sarah a society belle who likes to cook (I thought there would be more about her cooking as that would have been very different but sadly no). As the novel progressed, I found Christian and Sarah both highly annoying and just couldn’t relate to them. I didn’t feel the passion between them and to be honest, they were both just plain vanilla characters.
Valerie Bowman’s voice is distinctively American rather than British and probably one of the other reasons I didn’t enjoy this book set in Regency England. For example, the imagery I kept visualizing of the hunting lodge, was that of a modern day American log cabin rather than a rustic Scottish lodge. The vernacular was very modern and there were many examples of modern expressions like “whoa” and “to boot” which annoyed me. If you have similar reading tastes to me you may not enjoy this book, but if you are a Julia Quinn fan, this might be worth a look.
*Thank-you Valerie Bowman, Netgalley & St. Martin’s Paperbacks for the ARC.