Source: supplied by publisher via Edelweiss
Formats available: hardcover, paperback, ebook, audiobook
Genres: historical romance
Series: Wildes of Lindow Castle #3
Published by Avon on July 31, 2018
Purchasing Info: Author's Website, Publisher's Website, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Bookshop.org
The richest bachelor in England plays matchmaker…for an heiress he wants for himself!
For beautiful, witty Lavinia Gray, there's only one thing worse than having to ask the appalling Parth Sterling to marry her: being turned down by him.
Now the richest bachelor in England, Parth is not about to marry a woman as reckless and fashion-obsessed as Lavinia; he's chosen a far more suitable bride.
But when he learns of Lavinia's desperate circumstances, he offers to find her a husband. Even better, he'll find her a prince.
As usual, there's no problem Parth can't fix. But the more time he spends with the beguiling Lavinia, the more he finds himself wondering…
Why does the woman who's completely wrong feel so right in his arms?
While Born to be Wilde certainly has elements of the Shakespearean farce referred to be one of the characters, there are also some interesting and surprisingly serious notes in this glorious romp of a historical romance.
At first this seems like a frenemies into lovers story. We’ve met both Lavinia Gray and Parth Sterling in the previous books in this series. Lavinia, Willa (the heroine of Wilde in Love) and Diana (heroine of Too Wilde to Wed), are best friends. Willa and Lavinia were raised together. In fact, Lavinia had set her cap for the Wilde that Willa eventually married. Lavinia’s mother tried to set Lavinia’s cap for the Wilde that Diana finally married.
Parth Sterling was raised with the Wilde brothers from the age of five. Parth is Anglo-Indian, and his parents sent him from India to be raised by his father’s friend, the Duke of Lindow. When his parents died, Parth became part of the Wilde family – and was every bit as wild a boy as any of his adopted brothers.
But Parth has a serious side. He’s become the richest bachelor in England by profitably owning and operating several factories and even his own bank. He’s a man who works hard and gets things done.
He seems to see Lavinia as merely a fribble. A lighthearted and light-minded woman who fritters away her time and her fortune on gowns, bonnets and gloves. That upper-class women are all supposed to be fribbles doesn’t keep him from seeming to look down upon her at every turn.
And she, in turn, seems to look down upon him. In her presence he always seems to be prim and proper and gloomy and doomy. In his presence she acts almost like a halfwit.
Of course, nothing is as it seems – except that they drive each other completely crazy. It’s exactly what kind of crazy that’s hiding underneath all of their cutting remarks towards each other.
It’s only when Lavinia finds herself in desperate needs of Parth’s undeniable ability to get things done that they discover that there’s more hiding behind both of their surface personas than either of them ever imagined.
But neither of them imagines how difficult it will be to let go of years of preconceived notions about each other – or about themselves. Or how much damage all those accumulated cutting remarks have already caused.
Escape Rating B+: For a story that certainly has its serious side, it is also a tremendous amount of fun, livened up by oodles of witty banter. That the heroine is far, far deeper than the shallow puddle that the hero initially claims her to be just makes the story that much more delicious.
At the same time, the story deals with some fairly serious topics. A big part of the story, introduced very early on, is that Lavinia’s mother is addicted to laudanum, otherwise known as tincture of opium. While laudanum was dispensed quite legally in many forms until the 1860s, the effects of addiction were also known – if usually swept under the rug and secreted within the family.
Lavinia begins this story where Too Wilde to Wed ends. She has discovered that her mother has squandered not just their own money but also all of Willa’s as well. And she’s sold all of her own jewelry, Lavinia’s, and Willa’s and replaced them with copies. And stolen Diana’s jewelry as well, causing the rift between Diana and her family and forcing her into the circumstances she finds herself in at the start of Too Wilde to Wed.
Lavinia needs to marry a rich man, not just to make good on everything that her mother stole, but also because she needs a husband with enough power and influence to keep her mother out of jail and to make sure the scandal doesn’t erupt.
While marrying Parth or one of the wealthy men he introduces her to would solve her problems, Lavinia also has a tremendous amount of pride, as well as one marketable talent. She hasn’t been buying all those bonnets because she’s frivolous – well, at least not just because she’s frivolous.
She’s been studying them. Lavinia has the talent, the taste and the style to become a fashion designer, or what her world calls a modiste. Diana’s upcoming wedding provides her with the opportunity to not merely arrange but actually create Diana’s incredible trousseau – and to receive commissions from all of her suppliers for the materials that are purchased for the wedding party. And from there to build a business that can pay back what her mother stole, fund her mother’s long-term care, replace her own dowry and even live independently.
In other words, more than enough commission to make a serious dent in the financial hole her mother has left them in. And that would be just the start.
But the misunderstandammit in the story is that Lavinia doesn’t want Parth to know that she’s working to pay off that debt. So the more she accomplishes, the more he sees her as still frittering away her time playing with expensive fashion. Even as they finally admit that all of their name calling and backbiting has been hiding their true feelings for each other – they aren’t quite able to let go of the hurt on both sides it has caused.
In the end, Parth has to give really good grovel, not just in begging for forgiveness, but in demonstrating that he finally understands just what a gem and an artist Lavinia truly is, for them to win through.
Lavinia, in some ways, has the harder task. She has to let go, not just of those old hurts, but the even older ones – that still small voice inside her head that sounds remarkably like her mother, that says she’s frivolous and stupid and shallow and insipid and that no one will ever pay any attention to anything she says or does.
Accepting that the voice is wrong is the hardest lesson of all.
~~~~~~ TOURWIDE GIVEAWAY ~~~~~~
To celebrate the release of BORN TO BE WILDE by Eloisa James, we’re giving away one hardcover set of THE WILDES OF LINDOW CASTLE series!
GIVEAWAY TERMS & CONDITIONS: Open to US shipping addresses only. One winner will receive a hardcover set of The Wildes of Lindow Castle series by Eloisa James. This giveaway is administered by Pure Textuality PR on behalf of Avon Romance. Giveaway ends 8/10/2018 @ 11:59pm EST. Avon Romance will send the winning copies out to the winner directly. Limit one entry per reader and mailing address. Duplicates will be deleted.