This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Genres: Historical Romance
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca
Released on November 4, 2014
New to me author, debut novel and a ‘friends to lovers’ romance set against an archeological adventure in Italy during the Victorian period? Cue the excitement. I got some dashing surprises even beyond the enjoyment that I expected too. There was intrigue and oh lordy, there was humor- loads of humor. There were a few spots of melodrama, but on the whole it was a light, engaging read.
The story opens with Harry deVaux, Viscount Tunbury, figuring out that the ragamuffin younger sister of his best friend, Pip, Viscount Rycote, had grown up. Elinor was vivacious, intelligent and beautiful- and he couldn’t have her. Harry’s parents were the talk of Society with the Earl’s drinking and the Countess’ open promiscuity. There was no way he would connect his bad blood to the lady and family he adored and who gave him the only happy years of his life showing him what real family was like. He will have to keep away now that his feelings have changed for Elinor, but Lady Penworth has other plans. She requests Harry’s assistance and presence on a family holiday traveling to Italy to investigate Etruscan ruins that will help Lord Penworth let go the cares of dealing with government and politics.
Lady Elinor Tremaine was thrilled that Harry had finally returned from his travels and would accompany her family on their European journey which is her first real adventure. She missed him and didn’t realize until he was back why all those other gentlemen that came around never interested her. He was her childhood friend, but now she recognizes that her feelings for Harry have altered. If only she can get the oblivious Harry to stop treating her like a child. Elinor gets a bit of help from other interested parties even as she finds the adventures she was craving so long. Excitement, danger, and passion await the whole Tremaine family once they arrive in Italy.
One of the surprises that hit me fairly early on was that this was not just Elinor and Harry’s story regardless of the title and blurb. This is the story of Elinor’s loveable and just a bit eccentric family from her parents’ ongoing mature love to Elinor and her brother’s awakening love. Though it was a surprise, it was a very delightful one. In fact, if truth be known, I was more taken with the older couple much of the time. When the rest descended into melodrama, they were the voices of reason who loved their children and had patience with their foibles. Not that I didn’t enjoy Elinor and Harry or even Pip and Lissandra, but they were young, impatient not always wise love in comparison.
[quote]Instead of looking horrified or disgusted, Penworth looked somehow sympathetic. “Ah, so that is what has you in a ferment and sent you off on your travels. We were worried about you, you see.” Penworth looked kindly at him. “But that leaves the important question unanswered. Do you love my daughter?”
“Love her? Can you doubt it? I would die for her!”
“I suspect she would prefer you to live.” There was a suspicious twist to Penworth’s lips as he waved the younger man to a chair once more. p. 174 Lord Penworth and Harry deVaux from Lady Elinor’s Wicked Adventures[/quote]
The main romantic pair had some passionate moments though they were just a bit spicy and mostly closed door on the details. I enjoyed the tension and romps leading up to the moment they get it figured out at least preliminarily. She’s quite the spit fire and doesn’t put up with his hang ups. It was amusing to see her sorting him out though I will confess that her leap from innocent virgin into sexy temptress during that first stolen night pushed past believable for me. I know its fiction, but no. Virgins from the Victorian era from a sheltered life don’t whip their clothes off first and then grab the naked guy eagerly for intercourse which went like a charm of course. It niggled at me, but was just a small thing amongst a bunch of good things.
There was a lot going on in this book to catch my interest and that needed resolution. Elinor’s thirst for her own adventure and growing up a bit as she truly sees the worth of her own family as they show their strength of character while on the holiday adventure. Pip even shows that he is not as stuffy as Elinor labels him as he gets involved with a fiery Italian with connections to an old aristocratic family and to revolutionaries. Also, there was Harry’s need to buck up and accept his past, to let it go while taking up his responsibilities to his family and his family’s legacy. The suspenseful adventures presented to the family came from more than one direction. And of course all those romances. It was a lot, but I was still able to keep up even with the changing narrators.
The plot got a bit loose at times and went more than one direction. But all in all, I love the promise of this one for a good beginning to the rest of a series. I think fans of lighter Historical Romance with just a pinch of spice to the romance and a strong authentic historical background would have a good time with this one.
My thanks to Sourcebooks Casablanca for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for my honest review.
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