Reviewed by May
The Earl of Boden wants a wife. A partner to help him keep his many obligations running smoothly. Romance or drama? He’s not interested. Ah, but when he runs into the younger sister of his good friend he finds that Joss has become quite the woman – and the pair of them is in for quite the adventure.
Jesus, but how had this happened? How had he managed to leave an ordinary ball on an ordinary horse on an ordinary evening and suddenly find himself here? In a narrow lane in London in the blackness of night with three men who had tried to kill him now dead at his feet? With a coachman who was just a little too casual about killing and a woman who had nearly eviscerated him with a set of officer’s pistols in the process of saving his life? He’d never needed a drink as badly as he did at that moment, and that was saying something. He’d had a lot of moments in the last years.
I always love the stuffy titled man with the wild/free woman trope in my historical romance, but this goes even a step farther. Heath, our stuffy earl, is so deep in obligation and properly being what is expected of him that he’s lost himself. So to bring in Joss, a childhood friend that has been traveling the world and is completely comfortable as her own adventurous self was marvelous. The pair is thrust into an adventure and of course – find themselves very attracted to one another.
My favorite thing about this story aside from great characters was that they balanced so well and were so clearly suited for each other. I loved seeing them at work on a problem together, and how they respected and had such a bond that only a longtime friend can have.
Joss stared at him in dismay. “Why didn’t I think of that?”
“Because if you crammed one more idea into that brain of yours that I know is a seething pit of calculations and hypotheses, your head would likely explode.” He threw his hands out from the sides of his head. “Boom. Like a barrel of gunpowder.”
“You’re hysterical, Hextall.”
He leaned toward her, his lips curling. “Sometimes I come up with a few good ideas too.”
Joss found herself smiling. “So you do.”
Overall this story was really well done. We get enough time of Joss and Heath, and each character needs to bend just a bit to adjust to the possibility of a real happy ending with the other. At times things would get a bit slow, or I would wish for more (or less) detail about a certain aspect. I wouldn’t say the writing was uneven, just that it didn’t quite have a perfect flow for my tastes. There are references to previous books that even having read those books weren’t quite clear enough for me to remember what had happened.
Incredibly picky of me? Why yes, it is. I really didn’t have any true complaints, just trying to explain why this didn’t end up as an A read for me. This is definitely the best book I’ve read by this author, and it makes me excited to see if I continue to love her work and what she’ll dream up next!