Promise Me Tonight.
I could have done without the prologue. I understood what the author was going for, but it just seemed like overkill. Like using a cast iron frying pan to swat a fly. I much prefer to have that kind of information woven into the narrative. Yes, the childhood loss of both parents and a baby sister plays a large role in why the hero does not wish to marry, but there are subtler ways to do it.
One other pet peeve that this book struck was a vagueness of setting. I want to be able to fully visualize each and every location equally. And I really didn't get that here. There were some great opportunities to use the setting as an integral part of the story, but they were missed. The folly, the neighboring houses, Scotland, the ship all felt superficial.
Despite the few shortcomings, this story was surprisingly effective emotionally. Izzie's correspondence that heads each chapter was delightful. I have a soft spot for boy next door stories; there really aren't that many of them in the historical romance genre. And James's pain and indecision were palpable. As was Izzy's naive infatuation. Best of all, Lindsey has a distinctive writing style. Something that many authors take years to achieve. It's an effervescent style of writing that more often than not will have you smiling at turns of phrase as you're reading.
Overall, it's a fantastic first novel. And, hooray, part of a series!
My Grade: B-