25yo vicar’s daughter encounters masked 34yo blond Hero sneaking into her room.
He wants to have the family jewel that’s in her possession to help establish his legitimacy in high society. But he leaves without it and plans to seduce it from her instead by pretending to be a rich gentleman visiting their village. There’s something about his presence she thinks is off. But her verbose father is flattered by his attentions & invites him to stay at their house. Their proximity augments her suspicion of him as well as her attraction towards him. Hero becomes torn about his deceit as he comes to feel more deeply for heroine. What will become of them when the truth comes out?
It took me 4 days to read this book in total, which usually breaks the emotional effect of the story on me. But not with this one. Wherever I’d pick it back up, the plot, romance, characters, & overall emotional feel of the book would click back in place…as if I’ve never stopped reading. Now that’s impressive writing! Campbell was able to pull me in the story each time, making me laugh at their sarcastic wit, feel anxious about their secrets & insecurities, and be assured at how much Hero & heroine’s love for each other will conquer all. These 2 have their own big secrets, which gradually gets revealed but jeopardizes either their relationship or their individual life plan. Their entanglements are felt more than they are said. And that’s what I look for in my romance novels. I felt their desperation, confusion, conflict, & desires.
I also love the self-realizations both Hero & heroine have. It showed their weaknesses as well as their problem-solving abilities. They had their moments of self-deprecation as well as times of self-confidence. I felt like I really knew both of them. And I liked them. They were both social misfits who hid behind certain personas. For Hero, it was his social mask of a cavalier & fashionable rake. For heroine, her dutiful-daughter mask was forced on her by her self-aggrandizing father who wouldn’t credit her for all the writing she did on his behalf for the past decade. Their verbal interactions were fiery, funny, & flirty. It was great to see them take turns getting discomfited with each other’s wit & passion. They can joke with each other yet show their vulnerability with the other. Their sexual chemistry was palpable & culminated in satisfying sex scenes. I foresee a good marriage for these 2.
*ARC courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
**A more detailed review is on my blog.