This is the 7th Pennyroyal Green book. I have been reading them out of order, and while it sometimes confuses a little, as you hit the books with the key over-arcing plot points you get to go, “Oh! That’s why she started doing that!” I’m looking at you Olivia…
But this story is an Eversea one with the vicar Adam Sylvaine and former courtesan, Evie Duggan. Yes, the do have the simplest of names for a religious based romance ever. It felt a little Tessa Dare-y in that way to me. Also this one required a strong suspension of disbelief. But anywho, how do a country vicar and a courtesan meet? Well Evie is escaping to the country after her earl of a husband dies (who won her in a card game), and therefore becomes the center of some nasty gossip. Adam, as the country vicar, and all around almost too perfect of guy agrees to help her make friends in the area. Smolder ensues.
And boy oh boy was that some excellent smolder. Whoo-ey, wowzers. There was a lot of brooding, long looks, and very little touching because, yeah, he’s a vicar. He doesn’t go around putting the moves on ladies. I really liked both of them, although I wish we had gotten more of Adam’s backstory. Maybe we get it in a different one? I still need to read Colin’s and Chase’s books so maybe that’s why his background felt light. I really enjoyed Evie though. She came from nothing, had reasons for doing what she did, and they were actually logical.
So why only three stars? A couple of reasons: the need for a complete suspension of disbelief that a vicar and a courtesan were ever, EVER, going to get together. I’m sorry Ms. Long. Nope. Do not buy it. Part of what I’ve enjoyed about the Pennyroyal Green series is the characters are not the nobility. They’re wealthy and have freedom from that, and part of that freedom is to marry up or down, which makes it somewhat more “realistic” say than many others. But seriously?! no vicar is going to marry even a “reformed courtesan”. My next complaint was towards the end, they openly talk about sex, using the word “sex”. Again, compared to so many others in the series, this one just feels very out of time and place. And lastly, the very rushed ending. It felt like a cop-out. He solves everything in the last five pages, of inviting her family to move to in (without telling her), and proposing in front of the whole congregation? Again, nope. This one just doesn’t fit with the rest of the writing of the series for me.
So there you go, if you’re looking for excellent smolder, and don’t mind a rushed ending this is the book for you! Also it’s pretty heavy on the religion, which was different for a romance, and sometimes made for an interesting point of view. Otherwise, there were just some problems I couldn’t wrap my head around with this one.