Pub Date: November 1, 2012
FTC: ARC courtesy of the publisher
I am not a chick lit fan. I didn't like Bridget Jones or any of the other blockbusters of the genre. I'm just not a fan of stories mainly about self discovery. Especially if those stories feature someone painfully awkward, silly or weak--which has been the norm for most of the chick lit books I've read.
There is, admittedly, some overlap between romance and chick lit. Women's fiction and chick lit often features a love story, and romance often has the heroine experience an emotional arc. But the focus is usually skewed in one direction. Megan Mulry's novel is one of the rare few to balance the expectations of both genres successfully. It works as both chick lit and romance. As a love story and a story about discovering inner strength.
The most romance-y element of this book is probably the plot: it's straight out of Harlequin Presents...A duke in disguise who meets Ms. Right, but keeps his identity a secret. Misunderstandings, bruised feelings, and heartache ensues.
If you are like me, and avoid trade paperbacks who look even the littlest bit like chick lit, I encourage you to give this book a try. The heroine is a strong, professional woman. There's humor, but the tone doesn't have what can often be a grating superficiality. It has some depth, some darkness.
Romance readers might struggle a bit with the heroine: she's abrasive at times and has a potty mouth. Which is actually what I loved most about the book. Bronte isn't exactly unlikeable, but she's definitely not perfect.
"She attempted to dig deeper into godforsaken garbage pail of a purse, murmuring a steady stream of 'fuck-fuck-fuck-fuck-fuck' as the phone continued to ring and she continued to be unable to extract it from the quagmire that was the inside of her bag."
My only issue with the book came from the total lack of external struggles. I felt like Bronte's self doubt was a little too overdone. That the conflict was a bit thin to sustain.
My Grade: B
Bronte Talbott follows all of the exploits of the British royals. After all, they're the world's most preeminent dysfunctional family. And who is she to judge? Bronte's own search for love isn't going all that well, especially after her smooth-talking Texan boyfriend abruptly leaves her in the dust.
Bronte keeps a lookout for a rebound to help mend her broken heart, and when she meets Max Heyworth, she's certain he's the perfect transition man. But when she discovers he's a duke, she has to decide if she wants to stay with him for the long haul and deal with the opportunities-- and challenges-- of becoming a royal.