Series: Castles Ever After #2
Genres: Historical Romance
Published by Avon on 30 December 2014
Reading Challenges: 2015 TBR Pile Reading Challenge
Clio Whitmore patiently waited eight years for her fiance Piers to return from the Continent and claim her and apart from scoring a castle, not much has happened. Sick of waiting, Clio decides to break her engagement and start living her life. She turns to Piers’ brother Rafe who has been managing Piers’s affairs for assistance. They agree that Rafe will have one week to convince Clio to stay engaged and if he fails, Rafe will sign the papers dissolving the engagement.
Clio is a thoroughly modern miss who has finally had enough of being dubbed Miss Wait-more. She has grand plans for setting up a brewery on her new estate to generate revenue which is incredibly unusual for an unmarried woman of that era. She is also fairly comfortable at popping into Rafe’s bedroom in the dead of night to proposition him and engaging in all manner of ‘wicked’ things when she has the opportunity. For someone so willing to fight for what they want, I don’t get why she is unable to tell her fiancé of eight years that she doesn’t want to marry him. I guess fully breaking out of her mold is easier to do when Rafe is around.
Rafe is used to being a family disappointment and feels that he can redeem himself if only he can hand back everything to Piers just the way it was when he left – fortune, dog and Clio. He pulls out all the stops to convince her that marriage is a good idea and (partially) succeeds as she begins to fall in love with him. The sooner Rafe can get the mess sorted, the quicker he can focus on resurrecting his boxing career as he is all too aware that he has a limited shelf life. Rafe turned to boxing because he was good at it and it helped him earn some coin. He stayed boxing however because it was one arena where he wouldn’t be judged by his title or family connections. There was something deliciously egalitarian about the way he dealt with others apart from Clio who he had firmly placed on a pedestal.
This book is like a box of caramel truffles – bear with me and I’ll try to make myself clear – you dive into them expecting to be blown away by the texture (style), the gooey caramel (romance) and the quality of ingredients (plot, characters etc) and you are but largesse offered also gives you a toothache because you can’t help but continue to eat more. My enjoyment started to wane a bit by the end of the book simply because there was too much going on and I needed a change of pace. Perhaps a little more normality was needed to counter the excess of frivolity. Every character was quirky from the dog Mr Ellingsworth to the sister who played with string. Pick a historical romance cliché and the odds were it was used from the curvaceous, highly independent heroine who was underestimated by her relatives to sleepwalking relatives interrupting our pair of would-be lovers at inopportune times. All of this is laced with copious dollops of humour as Dare gently poked fun at the genre.
This novel was a light and amusing romp without a strong emphasis on historical accuracy. If you like your historical heroines to be feisty and your heroes to be notorious rakes with a marshmallow centre, this is definitely the book for you.