This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Genres: Historical Romance
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca
Released on June 3, 2014
I discovered a whole new author and series to love with book one, but the love affair has only deepened after reading this one. It is a loosely tied sequel that could be read out of order giving two minor characters in the last book the lead. Historical Romance is fun, flirty and heartwarming with these. I love how it can be so silly that I’m snorting with laughter, passionate that I start to get a bit warm under the collar but then turn around and offer something so touching that I’m near tears. Entertaining? Most definitely, but also something more.
The story opens when Charlotte returns home after a runaway match to an Italian count who has since passed away. She left in a cloud of scandal that not even five years has put to bed. She is left with few options to restore her reputation in society and the best one is finding a likely husband. It has to be someone titled, wealthy and handsome and she has decided on just the man. She was intrigued by Alistair McGregor, Earl of Carlyle, before and now here he is within reach again.
Dare McGregor was never interested in the title which only came with a load of debt and three ruined estates or all the women who throw themselves at him thinking him a great match. He has more pressing things to consider. He can clear the debt and start getting the estates profitable if he can get his new engine designed and built in time to demonstrate it for his future brother in law’s uncle, Elias Whitney. Into this situation, comes the only woman who managed to get under his skin before and she announces that they should get married so he will no longer be pestered by all the match-makers and he can be her ticket back to respectability. He tries to say no, but then her crazy schemes backfire and still get the result of him forced to offer for her.
Charlotte got what she wanted, but her victory isn’t complete and it isn’t as satisfying as she thought. First, there are still many spiteful people including her own brother that won’t be satisfied until she is pushed back out of people’s notice, but then her new husband has this idea that he won’t have physical relations with her unless she loves him as he does her. Love? Okay, she has achieved tougher things so she can fall in love just like that. In the meantime, the long thought dead McGregor cousin turns up to contest Dare as the Earl of Carlyle, rumors are flaming up about her marriage and Dare’s reputation and then a terrible event changes everything. Charlotte has to decide what is truly important and she has to decide if she can stick with her husband through thick and thin.
The plots in this series are unique when it comes to the romance in that achieving the wedding is the easy part and early on, but achieving happiness afterward is what is challenging. The romance is also a blend of sweet, playful and spicy. The men are hearty lovers and the women are no shrinking violets. The book is told with both Charlotte and Dare narrating though mostly Charlotte. The plot is also twisty so that stuff happens that the reader doesn’t see coming. There is a bit of intrigue going on that lead to some dangerous excitement.
Dare is the straight man in that all the silliness and mayhem take place around him. He didn’t ask for all the trouble that came his way when it came to the title he inherited, but he shoulders responsibility anyway. He didn’t encourage Charlotte, but once they were married he was the perfect husband loving her just the way she was and showing big amounts of tolerance for the craziness she brings to his life. I loved how his patience was rewarded and when he was in a bad place, she was there for him.
Now Charlotte…oh man, where to start. I didn’t know what to make of her in the beginning. She is so self-absorbed and oblivious that I wanted to applaud her effrontery. She had this hilarious habit of substituting the wrong words when she talked and has this circular reasoning that leaves one dizzy. However, she didn’t stay stuck on herself. Marriage to Dare brought her up against a person of strong will who wouldn’t be wheedled into giving in to her. Dare forced her to rethink her priorities and what she really wanted. And she responded to this while keeping her scheming and ability to get into troublesome situations. She is so open about their physical relationship and quotes this sex manual book at anyone who’ll listen- especially Dare. I laughed so often. There was so much about her that was appealing.
The secondary characters just sparkle and add a little something extra to an already good story. They are quirky and entertaining whether it is Charlotte’s longsuffering friend, Caroline, or Dare’s depressing long-faced butler/valet. Noble, Gillian, and Crouch were back too in little roles.
To sum up, this was another amusing romp in the Noble series. I am already committed to reading the next book for my dose of heartwarming romance and hilarious capers in the Regency era. I would recommend this for those who don’t take their historical romances seriously and who like some spice to the relationship.
My thanks to Sourcebooks Casablanca and Net Galley for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.