This was not my book. There’s nothing actually wrong with it, but by the end of the first page, I knew this was a bad match. Before I get into why I didn’t care for it, a brief synopsis:
Bubbly English professor escapes nurses a broken heart by taking on a summer teaching gig in England. Her best friend’s fiance’s best man happens to set her heart aflutter, something her newly single status allows her to appreciate guilt-free. For his part, the best man happens to be fending off matchmaking efforts by his mother: the family needs an influx of cash to support the ancestral estate and bachelor dukes always fetch a good price at market. (Did I not mention he’s a duke? He’s a duke, a fact he’s hiding from our heroine because people are weird about dukes.) Thus, we find our couple overcoming obstacles in the name of true love.
So, it’s a fun premise. As the second book in the series, readers of the first will get a gratifying amount of cuteness from the previous HEA. Somehow, the book just didn’t land for me.
I got off on the wrong foot. On the first page, the heroine coos over her long-term boyfriend (since high school! She’s supporting him in his grad program!) while bemoaning that he’s been overworked lately now that his dissertation defense is approaching. Two guesses what’s going on there?
Look, I will defend romance tropes. I know that there are things which define the genre, that readers need to be able to rely on. When I read romance, I have a rough idea of how things are going to go. Often, I specifically read for those beats. (Raise your hand if your beat up paperbacks fall open to that one steamy sex scene or that moment where she finally gives in to her feelings.) However, the happy heroine walking in on her her neglectful-of-late partner banging another woman is not one of those beats. I could cheerfully never read that scene ever again.
Over and over again, this book makes these choices that feel expected. Not in the way that good plotting makes an ending inexorable–things were always going to lead in this direction–but in the way that I could see where each beat was going to go. Neither Bonnie nor Theo was charming enough to make me want to root for them.
While this wasn’t my book, it’s a perfectly decent read. If you’re just looking to fill a couple of hours, or need something to gently scratch your romance itch, this might do the trick for you.
I was given a complimentary copy of this book via NetGalley in order to facilitate this review.