Reviewed by Tori
Favorite Quote: “Nothing ruins a dinner party like expertise.”
Edward (Ward) Reeve is a wealthy inventor and the illegitimate son of an Earl. He has recently gained guardianship of his two younger half siblings (Lizzie and Otis) after his mother passed away. Due to the children’s unusual upbringing, they were raised in a traveling theater troupe, Ward needs a governess immediately in order to get their education up to par and prepare them for their entrance into society.
Mrs. Eugenia Snowe is a widower who chose to open a business centering around governesses after her husband passed away. Her registry has a waiting list that spans months and her governesses are much in demand by the ton. A lady by birth and marriage, Eugenia is not nor has ever been a governess and does not care that she is looked down upon by certain members of society for her “work.” She is content in her life.
After a Snowe governess deserts her post at the Reeve household, Ward comes to the registry and mistakes Eugenia as a former governess, assuming no lady of rank would ever run a business. He sets out to seduce her into coming to work for him. He wants her for his siblings and his bed.
Eugenia agrees after some amusing sexual persuasion and a minor kidnapping and soon finds herself falling for Ward. But Ward’s own scandalous childhood has him demanding only the best for Lizzie and Otis. He will do whatever it takes to keep any more taint and scandal from darkening their lives. Even if it means giving up Eugenia.
I have long enjoyed Eloisa James’ historical romances. Her penchant for writing strong, intelligent, forward driven heroines and heroes who often buck the social norms of their time makes her stories an absolute delight to read. I also enjoy reading about the offspring of previous favorite characters all grown up and ready for a romance of their own. Fans will be pleased to see Seven Minutes in Heaven reintroduces us to Eugenia Snowe and Edward Reeves whom we met as children in the original Desperate Duchess series. As always, James’ pens a charming adventure that brings together two intelligent, spirited, and witty protagonists for a swoon-worthy romance.
Eugenia and Ward are a joy to get to know both as individuals and as a couple. Their chemistry sparks at their first meeting and only flames higher the more time they spend together. Though an unlikely match, their relationship flourishes and deepens as they become further acquainted with one another. While Eugenia’s beauty and widow status are what initially attracts Ward, it’s her charm, passion, intelligence, and genuine caring of his siblings that soon captivates him. He gradually realizes that the face she presents to society only serves to hide a complex woman. Ward is also not what Eugenia initially thought him to be. He has a strong sense of convention, conviction, and compassion behind his devil may care attitude that only strengthens her attraction as she uncovers his many facets. As she spends more time with him, she realizes that he may be exactly what she needs.
This wasn’t making love. This was making fun.
Amusing and tantalizing love scenes are used to tease the reader and show deepening affection that is slowly building between them. I do adore a couple who can have fun in and out of bed and this couple excels-the french letter scene is hilarious. They have a romantic sensual way about them that reassures the reader that they could very well have a very happy future together.
Had she just promised to be indecent with him at a later time…out of the carriage?
His wanton grin confirmed that she had.
“Just a minute,” she said hastily.
“I would wait a lifetime for you, Eugenia.”
The main plotlines are pretty low key in terms of conflict. Grief is the base on which this story is built. Everyone in here is mourning something. Though Eugenia has been widowed for seven years, she deeply loved her husband and still grieves for him. I like that James did not vilify him in order to facilitate her relationship with Ward. The children grieve the loss of their parents, acting out in unusual fashions as children often do. Ward himself not only grieves for what the children must have gone through (he knows what their mother was like) but also for his own childhood that never let him forget he was a bastard.
You’re wretched nuisances, but you’re my nuisances.
I admit a part of me was irritated at the hamfisted way the main source of conflict was handled. One conversation-one sentence-would have resolved the whole thing but James chooses to continue with the misconception and drags it out far longer than necessary.
A personable cast of secondary characters round out the story, adding depth and a sense of continuity. Lizzie and Otis are delightful and James’ does an excellent job of allowing us to see the damage done to them and Ward’s attempts to help them heal. He truly loves them and even though he makes some mistakes, everything he does is out of love. I enjoyed seeing cameos from previous characters (Mia, Villiers, India). It’s always nice to see where everyone is at in their lives after their initial stories are told.
The resolution wrenches the heart but James quickly sets our hero straight with some outside help. He does an excellent job of groveling and Eugenia stays true to herself and her heart to the very end.
Seven Minutes in Heaven is another winner from Eloisa James that gives readers a joyful and heartwarming story of love, laughter, forgiveness, and family.