Hudson Carlyle revels in his reputation as a charming playboy. He’s wealthy, he’s good-looking, and women come easily to him. So, like all good romance heroes, he fixates on the one woman who won’t give him the time of day. Felicia Hartigan has no time or patience for Hudson’s antics: her lifelong crush just broke up with his fiancee and she has the chance to make him see her as more than his friend’s kid sister. Hudson hits upon that classic scheme of offering to help the lovelorn gain the affections/attentions of their desired one.
We all know how this story ends, and Flynn supplies a delightful ride from Point A to Point HEA. Felicia is mouthy and stubborn, Hudson is funny and charming (as billed). The attraction is clear as a bell, and the sex scenes are hot.
I read The Charmer about a month after reading Smart Bitches Trashy Book’s guest rant on academic heroines in romance novels. When Felicia trips over something in the opening scene, I braced for impact. Just how hard was the author going to lean into the “awkward smart girl” stereotype? I was pleasantly surprised. Some of it was there: the clumsiness, the poor sense of style. But Felicia isn’t a naive babe-in-the-lab.
Hudson is absolutely a Colin Bridgerton-type, with a little more smarm. He’s out of the same mold: the fabulously wealthy son of a prominent family, chafing against his reputation as a charmer, restless for his place in the world. He’s my favorite kind of hero: the man who knows clearly that this is the woman he wants, who doesn’t waste time denying his feelings for her.
This book is a quick, hot read that mostly hits right notes. It’s not going to be my favorite romance ever, but it will definitely be a regular re-read when I need a fast pick-me-up. If I had a complaint, it would be that the set-up for the next book is just a little too obvious. (Dear authors, I don’t need the groundwork for the next book while I’m still working through the present one.)
I received a review copy of The Charmer via NetGalley in order to facilitate this review.
Additional reading: Academic Heroines in Romance Novels