Formats available: ebook
Genres: historical romance, regency romance
Series: Townsbridges #2
Published by Sophie Barnes on October 29th 2019
Purchasing Info: Author's Website, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo
A kiss can cure any ailment…
Lady Abigail has been infatuated with Mr. James Townsbridge for three years. But when she is finally introduced to him, she finds him arrogant and rude. Unfortunately, this doesn’t stop her heart from racing or her stomach from flip-flopping while in his presence. In fact, being near him makes her feel somewhat ill. Which complicates matters when they are suddenly forced to marry.
James doesn’t like the aloof young lady to whom he has recently been introduced. And since he has a blistering headache, he doesn’t have the patience for someone who clearly doesn’t want to be in his company. But when she lands in his lap and he accidentally rips her gown, his duty is clear. Now James must try to get along with his awful fiancée, or risk living unhappily ever after. But is that possible?
This story was a surprise. Oooh was it ever! And I meant that in a very good way.
At the beginning, it seemed like it was going to be the misunderstandammit to end all misunderstandammits. Admittedly, at the beginning, the hero and heroine don’t know each other AT ALL, so the way that they begin by misunderstanding each other and keep on doing it at every turn is a direct result of them being barely acquainted in the first place.
That their first meeting is far from auspicious doesn’t help matters. He’s really, seriously hungover, and she’s shy and tongue-tied in that way that comes off as standoffish and disapproving when it’s really all about wanting to disappear.
Then they each disappear from the party that neither of them wants to be at, in order to find a dark, quiet room where they can just breathe and give in to their equal but opposite desires to be anywhere else.
Until she sits on him in the dark – literally – and their quiet room is invaded by everybody and his brother – as well as both of theirs – discovering them in a position that looks extremely compromising.
This is a Regency romance, which means that they have to marry to preserve her reputation. Even if it seems as if he quite literally makes her sick to her stomach.
At this point I kind of wondered where the story could possibly go from here, because it seemed as if every time they were in the same room together they managed to make the whole situation worse.
Until they began writing notes to each other, and discovered that they have the same somewhat morbid and slightly offbeat sense of humor. They begin to find a way, and it starts to look like their impending marriage is going to be glorious and not doomed.
Of course there’s one more crisis that nearly drives them apart – again. But in their forced walk through some very dark places, they manage to find their way into the light. Happily. And together.
Escape Rating B+: I picked this book because I really enjoyed the first book in the series, When Love Leads to Scandal, and wanted to see where the story led next. (There’s no NEED to read the first to like the second, the one is not dependent on the other. But the first book is VERY short and a quite delightful romp all by itself.)
At first, I’ll admit that I totally wondered where Lady Abigail was headed (both the book and the character!) The misunderstandammit is one of my least favorite tropes, but in the first half of the story it seemed as if the whole thing was one giant misunderstanding and not much else. I’ll also confess that the reason Lady Abigail was so tongue-tied it made her sick – that James Townsbridge is just too handsome for words – felt a bit silly. But then, the whole misunderstandammit trope is pretty silly.
Once Lady Abigail put on her metaphorical big girl panties by talking to James through the shrubbery(!), their relationship began to sing. Or at least giggle and chortle quite a bit. It was certainly working.
When the crisis came and everything nearly fell to bits, things got very dark. And I’m trying not to spoil it, because the way they eventually recovered and learned to get past it was extremely well done.
So this one isn’t nearly as light and fluffy as that blurb might lead you to believe. And it’s all the better for it.