Pub Date: April 2, 2011
Publisher: Self published
Length: 59 pages (per Amazon)
Why was it in the TBR? Author is an auto-buy
This month's TBR Challenge theme is We Love Short Stories! Anything from category romance to novella to short story qualifies. Which makes it a perfect theme for my digital TBR.
I'm a big fan of Jacquie D'Alessandro. Especially of her historical novels. Her books are always filled with interesting characters and well crafted prose. While I liked her last book, a contemporary romance, I missed her historical books. Which is why I picked up this self-published novella as soon as I spotted it on Amazon.
This is one of those books that is enjoyable while you're reading it, but doesn't hold up to a lot of scrutiny once you've finished. The plot is a well-worn one of two strangers hooking up for an affair, lying about their identities, then realizing their feelings are much deeper than they anticipated.
The emotional tone of the book is wonderful. The two main characters, both mourning a profound loss, are believably in love from the beginning. And the panic Sophia feels when she spies her former lover in a crowded ballroom is almost palpable. The conflict is the part of the book that fails to live up to expectation.
The entire book hinges on a (perceived) class difference and an age difference. The class difference is based on deception, but the age difference is quite real. This might work as a conflict if it weren't overcome within the span of a few pages. The heroine is twelve years older than the hero. A huge problem according to Sophia. But all it takes is a conversation with her son, and she's suddenly perfectly fine with it.
This book also lacked much of the witty dialogue and word play Jacquie D is known for. I enjoyed it, although the resolution felt really rushed. It's just not her best work. Fans of the author will probably enjoy it anyway.
My Grade: B-/C+
Sophia Mallory, Countess Winterbourne thought she'd left her handsome Scottish lover behind in the highlands. But when Ian Broderick shows up in a London ballroom, Sophia realizes her past is about to catch up with her, and the scandal could cost her everything.