The English countryside in early September was a glorious place. The sun shone. The bees buzzed. The heady scent of wildflowers lingered in the air.
Emily Turner could not think of a more romantic setting for the world’s least romantic marriage proposal.
Julian needs a wife who makes him look respectable to remake his theatre’s reputation, Emily needs to get out from under her parents’ thumb and away from a skeevy suitor. Marriage sounds like the perfect solution – but being married is more complicated than saying ‘I do.’
Regency romances are what started me on the genre of romance in the first place, but I’ve not tried a lot of new authors over the years. This is my first book by Martha Waters, and though I’ve not read the first two books in the series, it works well as a standalone.
What I liked most about this book are the leads. Julian is swoon-worthy, if not always the most perceptive, and Emily is a sweetheart trying to figure out who she is when she needn’t play the perfect debutante. They have a lot of chemistry, but I also felt that they worked together well in a relationship and respected each other. I was also interested in the familial subplots of the novel. Julian and Emily both have difficult relationships with their parents, but this does not prevent them from trying to improve things.
However, I also had an issue with this book that I can’t quite put my finger on. Though I really liked the leads, I did not find the story very compelling. It may be because of the minimal plot, but I’ve enjoyed plenty of plot-light romances before. It’s not that there was not much angst, because I like my romantic leads to be sensible. I think the issue was that the stakes never felt high – I don’t need high stakes, but I need to feel that whatever is at risk matters, and unfortunately I didn’t get that impression. The rest of the plot felt like window dressing around the central couple. It all felt a little too pat.
Ultimately a mixed bag. I may check out later works by this author.
Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley. This is my honest and voluntary review.