The final book in the series and one I was eager for after encountering the delightful Gavin in the earlier books and wanting him to get his own happy ending. This was a second chance romance involving a pair who knew each other from childhood with Gavin secretly loving Felicity while forced to watch her fall in love with another and now gets his chance again.
This is the fourth book in a series and it is very connected to the earlier books, but yet is written in a way that one could read it out of order if one didn’t mind the inclusion of earlier couples. Gavin is a standing character throughout the series, but this story takes up his distant past and brings in a new heroine so it is doable.
The story opens with widow, Lady Felicity, deciding that she needs to come out of deep mourning for her husband and rejoin the world. She and her young son live with her husband’s brother and his wife who are going to Bath for the annual music festival. The area of Bath was once Felicity’s home and she has stayed away for years so now would be a good time to go back. It will be hard because people will bring up their feelings and sympathy, but it should be alright after a time. Felicity is also eager to see her old childhood friend, Gavin. They were once so close and then after her marriage he pulled away. Maybe they can have a reunion and restore their friendship.
Gavin, Viscount Derrington, fell in love with his childhood friend, Felicity. The night he picked to propose, she informs him that she met a good man by chance, they fell in love, and are now betrothed. Gavin is heartbroken and the only thing he can do is distance himself so he doesn’t have to watch the woman he loves be in love and happy with someone else. Now she’s back in Bath. He thought time would change his feelings, but the attraction is still there. It guts him to see her grief and having to play the friend with the strong shoulder she can cry on, but he loves her enough to be what she needs him to be. Is this a second chance or is it proof that it was never meant to be?
This was a daring choice for a romance plot or so it felt to me. Unrequited love is a real life possibility, always. Sometimes people fall in love and their love isn’t reciprocated. Since this is romantic fiction, Gavin does get his second chance, but there was a part of me that was saddened because even the possibility of unrequited love is crushing to a romantic like myself.
But anywoo, the story was engaging and touching as a result of this pair’s backgrounds. I felt for Gavin with his secret love for Felicity and how he sucked it up and chose to keep going instead of crumbling under such disappointment and I also felt for Felicity having lost her husband while they are both young. She was very much in love and his collapse was unexpected. The pressure on her to move on and try again was annoying to me. I was glad her brother in law and his wife were gentle with her even if her own family was pushing her to go out and land another man. Gavin’s family pushed him, too, but mostly out of love.
Both characters were appealing and I respected them so much. I wanted them to get together and I liked how it was a gradual thing and not instant. Gavin hesitates because he already got his heart crushed and that hurt while Felicity doesn’t even see them as more than good friends for the longest time and the shock of discovering it’s something else causes panic and the inevitable withdrawal. Because of the nature of Felicity’s situation, this is not a heated and passion-filled story. More on the sweeter side for most of the book before things give way to attraction.
The end came fast and I had a hard time keeping up. At first, I didn’t care for that, but then when my emotions caught up I actually did like that the author didn’t draw things out after the big conflict. The book had been building things slowly and I got a good look at what they could be like together so I guess I didn’t need a drawn out denouement.
So, all in all, I enjoyed this final book in the series. I will miss the setting of romances happening at the Bath Music Festival. I really hope the author might someday write Gavin’s brother’s stories. They were a fun group. I would recommend the book/series to those who enjoy slightly spicy Historical Romance.
My thanks to Penguin Group for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.