Pub Date: March 2013
Publisher: Ballantine (Random House)
Length: 325 pages
POV: 3rd, past
FTC: Received at RT, no idea where or when.
I'm not 100% certain this is a debut novel, but I *think* it is. If so, it's a fairly good one. A slightly better than average historical romance with strong, if entirely conventional, characters. I guess the title should have clued me in, since it's a throwaway one, but...eh.
Normally, I'm ALL ABOUT friends to lovers stories. Those are my catnip. Seriously. But this one just didn't really click for me. I really wanted more emotion, especially considering the two main characters have known each other forever. With that kind of shared history, there should be shared emotion, shared jokes, etc.
The "villain" isn't very villainous, just a dick, and there's a lot of confusing stuff about a $5000 bet/debt thing that I really just didn't understand. It could definitely have been more clear. There's a secondary romance, too, which felt like it took up far too much page time that could have been spent fleshing out the relationship between our hero and heroine.
There's a lot of potential here. The characters are mostly decent, the plot is ok. The writing is ok. What's missing is a strong voice, atmosphere, and emotion. Hopefully those will come with time.
After watching her beloved sister Sophia pine over the ton’s Golden Boy for years, Miss Julia St. Claire has foresworn love and put herself firmly on the shelf. Unfortunately, her social-climbing mother and debt-ridden father have other ideas, and jump at the chance to marry Julia off to the newly-named Earl of Clivesden…the man of Sophia’s dreams.
Since resigning his Cavalry commission, Benedict Revelstoke has spent his time in London avoiding the marriage mart. But when he discovers that the Earl of Clivesden has set Julia in his sights, Benedict tries to protect his childhood best friend from the man’s advances—only to discover more than friendship driving his desire to defend her. He surprises them both with the force of his feelings, but when she refuses him and her father announces her betrothal, he fears he’s lost her forever—until Julia approaches him with a shocking scheme that will ruin her for all respectable society…
…and lead them into an exquisite world of forbidden pleasures