Sweet Afternoon Delight Review: Lessons in Loving by Peter McAra

Posted April 10, 2016 by Sophia Rose in Afternoon Delight, Reviews, Sweet Delight / 16 Comments

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I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Sweet Afternoon Delight Review: Lessons in Loving by Peter McAra
Lessons in Loving

One StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star

Genres: Historical Romance
Published by Escape
Released on January 25, 2016
Pages: 153
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
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I read another book by the author set earlier in Australia’s history and enjoyed it so I was happy to snag this one when I came across it.  The setting, the time period, and the interesting premise drew me in to this gently-paced, reverse Pygmalionish story about a young, wealthy Aussie sheep rancher who hires a teacher to help polish him so he can impress an aristocratic English lady.

The story is set in 1902 and begins with young Kate Courtney finishing up teacher’s college and ready to brave the world.  She has heard one of the well-spoken feminists of the day and likes the idea of being an Independent Woman who will intrepidly step out on her own and pave her own trail of success.  She spots an advertisement for a governess needed for a position in the country.  Kate is a city girl, but she is willing to travel many miles away and into a place without all the comforts of the city both for the adventure and to get away from the young man who used her and tossed her aside.

On arrival, Kate is startled to learn that her pupil is not the son of the family, but the wealthy, handsome owner of the vast station with the great house.  Tom’s story and his need engages her sympathy right away.  He is a wonderful man and a gentleman at heart.  Kate wants to see him show up the snobby lady that laughed at him and sent him away, but almost from the beginning she has to work hard not to let her feelings for Tom get in the way only to decide later to give him another chance by visiting him from England.  He is everything she likes in a man, but she is aware that he is destined to be someone else’s man.

Kate learns to love Tom’s home, the land, the people, and everything including Tom, but when the moment arrives for him to meet his beloved’s ship, she knows her dreams are over.  If only…

The story is a gently-paced sweet romance though the romance is somewhat one-sided for much of the book.  Kate is the narrator for most of it though Tom gets his turn later in the story.  Kate falls for Tom right away, but must keep things professional.  It is bittersweet to see them connect and become friends all the while Tom is oblivious to the real treasure he already has if he would but see it.  There are no real surprises in the story and it follows a path that the reader can easily guess what comes next, but that didn’t take away from the enjoyment of watching it all unfold.

The author took the time to write in some historical backdrop to the time period including Kate’s ‘Independent Woman’ ideas.  I found her a little irksome when she got up on her high horse about it because it was a case of a little knowledge being dangerous and her need to overdo it and take offense when I thought it was obvious that Tom respected her as an equal if not a superior.  She would hastily realize she made mistakes which righted it for me so it wasn’t more than a mild annoyance especially when Tom was so oblivious toward the end and I wanted to pop him so he’d see the truth about both women in his life before it was too late.

The characters were both engaging.  I liked them individually and together.  The build of friendship and time developing an actual trust and relationship over several weeks was well done.  It is the little every day things that warm the heart and engage the reader.

All in all, this moderate and sweet story was a good choice for curling up and getting cozy with an easy going historical romance.  Those who enjoy sweeter historical friends to lovers romance might want to give this a try.

My thanks to Escape Publishing for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Challenges Met:

Romance Roundabout #89 HR

Literary Pickers #85 steampowered vehicle

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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.

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6 years ago

I really like books set there, it’s just something about them

Sophia Rose
6 years ago
Reply to  Blodeuedd

Yes, loved how it gave both city and country and lots of culture.

6 years ago

The closest I’ve come to any Australian history is through movies. I can sit and watch them all day. There’s a little music store in downtown West Point that sells all of these historical DVDs, and I love buying them. I think it’s time that I try reading some books like this. Great review!

Sophia Rose
6 years ago
Reply to  Lekeisha

I’ve found a handful of Aussie historical romance that I’ve enjoyed. Watch for Escape Publishing if you can b/c they are the Australian branch of Harlequin and produce some good ones. 🙂

Mary Kirkland
6 years ago

Probably not my kind of book but glad you liked it.

Sophia Rose
6 years ago
Reply to  Mary Kirkland

Thanks, Mary! Every so often I need a sweet cozy historical like this.

Braine TS
6 years ago

This is great for lazy days… like mine today.

Sophia Rose
6 years ago
Reply to  Braine TS

It is good for a lazy day when you don’t want a challenge.

Christy LoveOfBooks
6 years ago

I haven’t read many HR, but that cool’s this is set in Australia! Sounds like a really nice read.

Sophia Rose
6 years ago

Yes, I loved that part and it was great that the setting got good description.

Lover Of Romance
6 years ago

oh it is always fun to read a romance that is cozy and charming like this one!!!

Sophia Rose
6 years ago

Yes, it was a nice change up. I did enjoy that about it.

Anna@herding cats&burning soup

Ahh I know women like that in this day and age and it drives me crazy. I’m glad she at least would realize her mistakes and fix things. The gentle rolling story sounds nice. There are definitely days when I need that 😀

Sophia Rose
6 years ago

I was like ‘save it, sister!’ for the real male chauvinists. 😉

It was a nice sweet one and I loved the setting.

6 years ago

I think the hero still wanting a woman who laughed at him is pretty irksome in itself. Between him and her getting on her high horse I think this wouldn’t be a good one for me. I did enjoy your review though 🙂

Sophia Rose
6 years ago
Reply to  Lorna

Oh yeah, I was so glad when he sorted it out and made the right choice. He wasn’t into the gal so much as trying to obey his dead mama’s wishes to marry a high-bred lady from back in England. That snobby girl was a spoiled brat and he saw it when she came out to Australia.