TBR Challenge Review: At Last by Jacquie D'Alessandro

Format: ebook
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+

The Blurb:
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.


  1. To my shame, I have to admit that D'Alessandro is one of those authors I've only read once - and that was a while ago. Since you love her books, which one book should I absolutely make sure to read? I have an awesome romance UBS near my office so I'm willing to forage. :)

    1. It's been a long time since I've read them, but two I remember enjoying are Love and the Single Heiress and Not Quite a Gentleman. She has a way with language that is fun without going over the top into cutesy.

    2. Hmm...I just may have to look these up. Depending on the snow/sleet situation, I see a trip to the UBS in my near future. Thanks!

  2. I'm actually worse than Lynn - I've never read D'Alessandro and I have SEVERAL of her books in my TBR. I'd also be interested in hearing some of your favorites, because I might already own a copy (seriously, I am not a well woman).

    1. I really need to reread some favorites to see if they are as good as I remember. I started reading her at the same time I was reading early JQ, and I remember D'Alessandro as being far more skilled.

  3. When that cover pic popped up on my blog reader I thought it was a lesbian love scene. That guy's pecs are...well-rounded.