So this was published Tuesday. Amazon shipped it to me. I received it yesterday after work and was done before midnight. I just couldn’t help myself! This is the Dare charm I know and love. There was her usual patented whimsy and disregard for history, but mixed in were characters who felt much more real than some of her other recent efforts.
This one is the story of Madeline, a painfully shy gentleman’s daughter, and Logan, a captain from the Napoleonic Wars. Madeline, in order to avoid having a season, invented a man. A soldier, who loved her desperately and whom she wrote for years. Turns out the name she picked randomly was a real man who received her letters, and comes to find her almost 10 years later to “collect” on what those letters promised. What ensues is one of my all time favorite romance tropes: a marriage of convenience. As I loudly proclaim here regularly I prefer when the hero/heroine get together early and that’s what this trope affords. It gives an explanation to their situation, and allows for immediate intimacy in some of my favorite ways.
And I was charmed in almost every way. Ms. Dare is back true to form in the vein of some my favorites. Yes, Madeline is quirky (there’s a whole lobster subplot that I rolled my eyes at and skimmed), but she’s also very grounded in reality. Her severe social anxiety felt realistic, and while explained away a bit at the end I would have been fine if she really just never liked crowds or large groups of people. It’s a very real thing for many people I know. Logan, as an ex-soldier, brings his wounded men along with him, which again helped keep everyone in reality compared to some other stories. As for the whimsy: the lobster plot. Just skim past it. Also the disregard of a lot of Scottish history from that supposed time, but that’s mostly due to my living there and studying as a student this exact period in time. Most people do not know that much detail so it probably won’t bug in the same way.
Overall, I highly recommend. It’s not A Week to be Wicked, but definitely pretty close to Any Duchess Will Do in the charm department. Well done Ms. Dare. I continue to look forward to the next one!