For the third book in the trilogy, I had high expectations because May has been one of the most colorful characters since the beginning. I was so curious what man would be her match. She is beautiful, lively, and eccentric when it comes to English ways having done her growing up in the Orient and on board her father’s ship. I didn’t have long to wait and loved the man she was paired with. The tension and sizzle was off the hook.
As I mentioned, this is the third in the series. It can be read out of order, but one would probably get more out of it getting them in order.
The story opens with May’s aunt warning her with no uncertain terms that her behavior had better improve or else. Unfortunately, right after her last concert with her two friends, May bumps into an insufferable man who assumes she is there to insinuate herself into his company. They trade barbs, but it is only on the arrival of her aunt that she has been with the Duke of Radcliffe, a man her aunt wished to cultivate an acquaintance. As a result, she is forced to make nice if she wants out of her room.
William Spencer, Duke of Radcliffe is a rule follower and takes is duties seriously. Someone like May who lives outside the rules frustrates him. He wants to avoid a woman like her, but he can’t deny that he feels a strong attraction, too. She wants different things in life, she hates his country, and she plans to return to her old life as soon as her father returns, and yet he issues the invitation to join him, his flirty step-mother, and his half-siblings at his country estate.
May is confused by her reaction to William. She wanted to continue to hate everything about him and his country because that would keep things easier for her plans when her father returns, but she discovers that there is a lot more to him than she originally thought. But this doesn’t change anything because they still aren’t right for each other.
This story was my favorite of the three and I thought for sure book two would be. The sparks between this pair, their opposite situations, and the development of the brewing issues that eventually come to a head were exciting. Both characters have a tendency to quick judgment and speech, but learn to appreciate each other’s fine points along with their view points.
The romance is slow build and stays on the sweet side because they are at dagger point for a while before cooling off and getting to know each other. The attraction was a playful thing that both found inconvenient at times and they were flirtatious when they got past the hostilities. William and May were a great couple.
The historical setting was full of interesting elements like the music festival, the beginnings to the industrial era, and the trade wars. It fit in nicely to give both the main characters their opposing opinions on these matters as well as place them in a changing time. I loved that the author chose Bath as her main setting instead of the more popular London.
All in all, I enjoyed this book for its opposites attract fiery romance, loveable characters, and neat historical backdrop. I was glad to see that a side character, Lord Derring, gets his story next. I would heartily recommend this book and the others in the series to historical romance fans who like lighter, flirty stories.
My thanks to Penguin Group for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Romance Roundabout #255 HR
Cliché Klatch #156 ‘pot calling the kettle black’
Historical Romance #67
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