Published by Entangled: Select Historical on May 30th 2017
Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo
Five years ago, Lord Sorin Latham fled England’s shores to avoid heartbreak and scandal in the form of one Lady Eleanor Cramley. On returning home, he finds the young miss he used to scold for lack of decorum is now a stunning woman who fires his blood. But he must resist temptation or risk losing his honor as a gentleman and the friendship of those he holds dear, including Eleanor.
Lady Eleanor is determined to be the paragon of propriety Sorin urged her to become. But now that he’s back, the man she once thought of as an older brother makes her long to be anything but proper. She must make Sorin see her as worthy of his heart and his desire without losing his good opinion, or her Season will end in disgrace.
“Eleanor, Charles has told me of your many rejected suitors. You have, to his utter bewilderment and despair, refused to consider any and every gentleman that has expressed interest in you, and I cannot help but feel that the fault is in some way at least partly mine. While it is true that I’d hoped to impart to you a sense of decorum, I never intended that you should withhold yourself so entirely as to become isolated.” In the silence that followed, Sorin braced himself.
But in spite of her reddening face, she spoke with chilling calm. “You confuse reserve with a lack of feeling. Reserve is the veil behind which we conceal those sentiments inappropriate to display, is that not what you said?”
“It was indeed,” he replied, now regretting the fact that he’d ever broached the subject.
“Then consider it fortunate that I maintained my reserve, because to have displayed my true feelings for those so-called suitors would have been insulting to their dignity and very likely ruinous for me.” Her eyes flashed, belying her cool tone. “I’ve given every gentleman before which Charles has paraded me an opportunity to prove himself worthy of my regard. It’s not my fault that all have failed to meet my standards. If I’ve been reserved, it is because I have yet to find a gentleman possessing the qualities necessary to engender my trust and affection.”
Prudence warred with curiosity—and promptly lost. “Might I inquire as to these…standards you’ve set forth? Because it seems to me you’ve set some lofty requirements, if indeed no less than four—six if you count the good reverend’s repeated attempts—proposals of marriage have been turned down due to lack of their fulfillment. Are you certain the fault lies with the gentlemen?”
In an instant, he knew he’d gone too far. Her eyes widened, and the flags in her cheeks brightened to a cherry red that spread to the tips of her ears.
“Perhaps I am too harsh a critic,” she said a bit unsteadily. “My only excuse is that my expectations have been set by the examples with which I was provided in my youth. My father, Charles, and…” A suspicious brightness rimmed her lower lashes for a bare instant before she averted her gaze.
Comprehension dawned. “If you mean to say that I am at fault for—”
“Who else was there?” she snapped, glaring at him through leaf-green eyes that glittered with unshed tears. “Had I been exposed to lesser men, I should perhaps be more willing to accept such a one. However, as I was not, I shall continue to hope for better. Had you been here to see what has presented itself thus far, I would like to think that you would agree with my decision.”
The words had been spoken softly, and yet they cut like the sharpest steel. He took a step toward her, intending only to offer comfort and reassurance, but she quickly edged away.
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~~Reviewed by Lisa~~
I instantly liked both Sorin and Eleanor. Sorin is kind, strong and can be abrupt, but only to hide his feelings. Eleanor is smart, independent, and wise beyond her years because of the loss of her parents at a young age. Together the conversations are quick, sometimes witty and yet often filled with misunderstandings that started to wear on me. The secondary characters were interesting and caring. I was a little sad to see Eleanor’s best friend suffer the same constant misunderstandings for her own HEA. Eleanor’s cousin and guardian, the heir after her father, the duke passed, and his duchess were caring, and loveable. I was disappointed that the author started to give Eleanor the social assistance of Sorin’s mother, but her role was not developed enough to really give her the due and the power that was alluded to.
This was a new to me author and the blurb was intriguing. Unfortunately, I was not as excited as I got into the book. Yes, the characters were endearing and their plight was fair but the author did them a disservice by not giving them more of a challenge then just their thoughts, misunderstandings and wish to not hurt the other’s feelings. The only antagonist, while a vile man, did not pose enough of a struggle to truly bring them together as a couple to solidify their HEA. Yes, he was a bully and his pride had been hurt as a young man, but both Sorin and Eleanor only thought to confront his separately until the very end and that was disappointing. There were so many chances to bring them together and they were glossed over. While the constant missed chances were wearing on me, I still enjoyed the characters and will give the author another read.