Thursday, June 22, 2017

Why reading indoors

I really liked this funny list at BookBub Blog about reasons to stay inside during the summer and read instead of being out in the heat.
I found out that, as time  - and age - go by, I much prefer to stay indoors and do the things that make me happy and not what I should do just because others are doing it as well, like going to the pool, or the beach or whatever.
The list has several notes, my favorite is the following, although I think I've used #1 in my blog before.
Happy summer reading!!!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

TBR Challenge: Grace Burrowes - The Heir

Gayle Windham, Earl of Westhaven, is the first legitimate son and heir to the Duke of Moreland. To escape his father's inexorable pressure to marry, he decides to spend the summer at his townhouse in London, where he finds himself intrigued by the secretive ways of his beautiful housekeeper...
Anna Seaton is a beautiful, talented, educated woman, which is why it is so puzzling to Gayle Windham that she works as his housekeeper.
As the two draw closer and begin to lose their hearts to each other, Anna's secrets threaten to bring the earl's orderly life crashing down - and he doesn't know how he's going to protect her from the fallout...

Comment: This year June is a month dedicated to Favorite Trope books when it comes to the monthly TBR challenge post. I have several preferences in books and one of them is when a richer, usually more confident or steady man helps (meaning, not overpowers nor bosses around, nor treats the heroine as a child) the heroine to accomplish her goals o is there to be a support system which eventually makes them realize their relationship is all about themselves as a couple and not just the things around them defining who they are to one another.
I also like different class relationships when done well. This book has an earl and his housekeeper ending up together so I thought it would be a good choice.

Anne Seaton is the housekeeper at the earl of Westhaven's house and she is efficient and dedicated. The book starts when she attacks the earl thinking he is another man going to touch a maid in an improper way. After she realizes her mistake, she helps him and he starts paying attention to her which eventually leads the to talk and discuss many things rather than just household needs and slowly they fall in love.
Anna, however, has a secret and she fears she can't allow others, especially people she comes to care about like the earl and his brothers, to be in danger or to be caught in the scandal of her real identity being know. Will she finally accept the earl's help?

I've had this book to read since last year, it's quite a lengthy book, almost 500 pages in my paperback edition and it's a very rich and detailed story.
I was curious about the author, this is my first attempt with her work but I had good enough expectations, not only because of good opinions but also by the idea of this novel and another one I'm interested in by her, whose blurbs have caught my eye easily.
I liked this one, it was certainly complex when it comes to whys and hows and explanations of every thing but I'm sure a few less pages would have done the trick as well.

My biggest issue is the way the characters dealt with one or two things. I certainly liked how slowly but simply the relationship between Anna and Westhaven developed, I loved his relationship with his brothers and also his parents, I liked how considerate they al were with those in their service - not something always seen in historicals -  which makes me think the author has an eye for detail ans creating the perfect environment. But this means things are thought and overthought to the extreme and this means that often easy things take ages to happen or that the solution could be a quick one and isn't for plot purposes without any need. 
This is a situation I saw repeating itself throughout the, when things get to a conclusion and it feels like the end is near, there are still several pages left because the main couple is stubborn to just say they want to be with one another. Why waiting like martyrs for the others to guess their thoughts?

Apart from some characterization choices, I liked the characters, they are rich in behavior scenes, meaning, we learn a lot about them by seeing how thy behave and not just by knowing or seeing them telling things to one another and the secondary cast was amazing, especially the brothers, characters I'm curious about and I will probably read their stories too.

The main couple was the center stage but they weren't "clogging" the narrative with their inner thoughts all the time, we had plenty of pages just watching the plot develop and that worked out well for me. But yes, some details dragged on a bit...
I liked Anna although it annoyed me a bit she was not really a housekeeper...well, that can be more easily accepted when we think the hero will become a duke...oh well. Anna was just trying to fo a goo deed and I liked how attentive she was whether for others' preferences or about tasks to be done, etc.
The earl was a great hero, not overbearing, not careless..a perfect blend I think. If only he showed his nobility status a bit more at the end when it came to show Anna he wanted her as a wife, I don't mean his opinion of her as a woman or a person he took care of too...well, perfection doesn't really exist, I guess.

The end was predictable but had its fairy tale similarity and the HEA deserved. There is an epilogue, surprisingly short after such a long book...I would have preferred a smaller final end of story and a better epilogue.
This was not a perfect historical but I found out it worked well enough for me and the reading experience pleasant and easy to maintain.
Grade: 8/10

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Jana DeLeon - Diabolical

Nine years ago, the police found Shaye Archer wandering in the French Quarter, beaten and abused and with no memory of the previous fifteen years, not even her name. Now, at twenty-four, Shaye is a licensed private investigator, determined to get answers for her clients when the police can’t help. But her last case uncovered more than anyone anticipated, and pieces of Shaye’s missing past have surfaced with unexpected consequences.
She’s starting to remember.
Will Shaye unlock the secrets buried deep in her mind? And more importantly, can she handle the truth if she does? 

Comment: This is the third installment in the Shaye Archer series by Jana DeLeon. In this series, we follow the life of Shaye Archer, a woman with a particular past who now works as a private investigator. This series has been quite interesting and I was very curious to see what secrets were in Shaye's past...

Shaye has been investigating some cases in the past books and the last one has ended up with the revelation her biological mother might have been a link to a man who trafficked humans.
In this third book, Shaye will try to learn more details about her own past and what she finds is quite disturbing. Along with Jackson and other people to help her, Shaye will uncover what has happened to her years ago and what can be happening to a new kidnapped girl in the same conditions as she was, now.
But the truth involves many people and secrets of others who might not be ready for things to become known...

I was quite eager to read this book because this was where, apparently, we would find out about Shaye's past, how she ended up being found the way she did and why her. I liked the story but I confess I expected a bit more in terms of romance development and even the villain wasn't what I imagined. I was more shocked about an unexpected twist than the villain or his reasons.

The plot followed several predictable steps but what I appreciated the most was how one or two characters, good ones I mean, managed to not let themselves be caught by the bad guy. How rare this is in suspense stories! The twist actually has two aspects, the identity of a person of interest from the past which affects Shaye today and how that influenced another situation which - in my opinion was more of a plot shocker than a necessity. I know I'm being vague but reading the books in order will give more impact to this little detail I'm talking about without specifying.

This was a truly addictive book to read, always something happened and because of this it felt kind of a letdown how Shaye herself was just a piece of a puzzle, not the answer to the whole thing. I kind of imagined that considering she's the was also too convenient how the bad guy's identity was created...his existence just doesn't make any real sense, I think, especially when it comes to the set of characters we've known since book #1 but whatever...

Shaye is a fascinating character and of course her vulnerable side makes us see her as more "human". I kind of expected all that happens in this book in terms of plot would affect her more heavily emotionally. A romance would be a cliché but welcome manner to allow her to have a "personal" time or something but the relationship never gets to the point...maybe after... well, it's not that the books would be worth only because of that but it would certainly be a cute side element. If only we got more romance sparks happening but no. They feel something they almost get to the point where they discuss it but attention quickly diverges to something else so it feels this aspect is rather dragging. I understand the idea of letting it simmer but a kiss at least would be welcome already.

The next book is coming out or is out recently and I'm looking for to read it as well. At least I can count of a time well spent even with some minor personal quibbles.
Oh and what a creepy cover, isn't it?
Grade: 8/10

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Enjoy the weekend!

My country is going through a heat wave that makes it very difficult to stay outdoors but the spot in this image feels inviting and cool and I wish I didn't have to work or be outside...
Look for such a place if you can and enjoy reading!!!

Image from here. There are more reading spots in the list as well.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Ann Somerville - Somatesthesia

Devlin Grace’s experience with child exploitation cases lands him a new assignment with the Special Crimes Investigators unit of the Federal Justice Agency, plus a new partner who could make the job tougher than expected. Connor Hutchens possesses incredible, scientifically enhanced senses…and zero social skills. Word on the street is that his last partner left under a cloud—and it was Connor’s fault.
Connor blames himself for losing his previous partner, and wants to do right by his new one. But Devlin confuses and frustrates him, and he struggles to cope with Devlin’s swift intelligence, quirky humor and teasing sexuality.
With the dangerous, perplexing case facing them, there’s no one Devlin would rather have at his back than Connor. But the longer they work together, the higher the sexual tension rises—until attraction boils over and puts everything at risk. Their careers, the children they’re trying to save—and any chance of lasting love.

Comment: I've had this book in the pile for a long time before I decided to start it. Story of TBR's life...however, the opinion of some people I know made me eager enough to try it now.

This is a story set up in the future where we gradually realize several things are different from the contemporary world, being the most obvious one how some people can enhance themselves with technology. Connor Hutchens is one such man, he is a detective and was adopted by a scientist when he became an orphan and he and his brothers by adoption were experimented on but at the same time cared for by their father.
Devlin Grace is also a detective who is partnered with Connor, someone everyone respects but sort of fears. The two detective start working on a case and when things seemed to be going on well, the killer they are searching for focuses on them and Connor is put in danger. What comes from that can mean salvation or death for them...

This story started pretty well for me. I liked the starting notes on the world development, I liked the details about the positive changes the world had lived through (namely how people could simply say they were married with same sex spouses and that was no big deal) and how the task forces were now organized, something we learn by seeing Devlin go through his first day as a partnered detective in the new department.
The story promised a lot and while the mystery wasn't as interesting to me, it allowed the characters to move along and that was  also quite fascinating.

I could say up to half the book I was really engaged and the sexual tension was well done, the relationship - which obviously started as simply professional, then evolved to caring about that person as a human being, then as a partner and even ahead as a romantic interest - always vital and vibrant and the scenes between the two guys riveting.

Then something happens and Connor needs Devlin's emotional help (as opposed to only personal/professional) and it's assumed they are now together. From this point on, I just don't think the story lived up to its potential because feelings got too mushy and unlikely for the amount of time they knew each other and the plot and secondary situations around it started to mix up and feel weirdly staged. My opinion.
So, I was starting to loose interest, the romantic relationship didn't feel special anymore for me... finishing the book was a duty more than a pleasure so that's why my opinion is average but on the more negative margin.

I can't explain very well why the story evolved negatively for me apart from what I just said but as a whole, things were no longer as interesting and details started to lack importance.
Catching the killer wasn't what I imagined and what came after only prolonged a story that was no longer full of life.
Devlin and Connor, whose personalities seemed to be quite easy to spot and their reactions expected, just turned into cheesy silly adults pretending they were deeply in love - in my opinion. Then secondary characters got in the way...I just think it no longer was the same as in the beginning.
All in all, stared so well butt he balloon lost air as it approached its end...
Grade: 5/10

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Cecilia Grant - A Lady Awakened

Newly widowed and desperate to protect her estate and beloved servants from her malevolent brother-in-law, Martha Russell conceives a daring plan. Or rather, a daring plan to conceive. After all, if she has an heir on the way, her future will be secured. Forsaking all she knows of propriety, Martha approaches her neighbor, a London exile with a wicked reputation, and offers a strictly business proposition: a month of illicit interludes . . . for a fee.
Theophilus Mirkwood ought to be insulted. Should be appalled. But how can he resist this siren in widow’s weeds, whose offer is simply too outrageously tempting to decline? Determined she’ll get her money’s worth, Theo endeavors to awaken this shamefully neglected beauty to the pleasures of the flesh—only to find her dead set against taking any enjoyment in the scandalous bargain. Surely she can’t resist him forever. But could a lady’s sweet surrender open their hearts to the most unexpected arrival of all . . . love?

Comment: This book got on my radar months ago and it was the pick for my buddy read of this month with my friend H.
This is the first book by the author I've tried so my expectations were as simple as wanting to have a good story.

In this book we meet Martha Russell, a recent widow who is worried about the future of her employees at the estate where she lives because having her and her husband no children, her husband's younger brother will inherit. The problem is that the brother is a rake and has attacked to maids when he was younger. Because Martha is pragmatic and wants to help and defend those she considers her responsibility, she has a plan: to find a man to get pregnant and pretend it's the heir her husband always wanted.
The "lucky" chosen is Theo Mirkwood, a man whose father sent to a sort of exile from the easy life of London, so he could cultivate some patience and interest for something rather than debauchery. Theo thinks his life in Sussex will be boring but after meeting Martha they immediately agree on trying for a pregnancy but as time goes and they get to know one another, Theo realizes life in Sussex is actually perfect for him. 
If only Martha thought the same...

I was quite eager to see how the read this book because I got the notion somewhere the heroine is stoic in adversity and she doesn't fall prey to the hero right away. I'm very fond of pragmatic heroines, or women who got themselves in a bad situation but with patience, intelligence and sometimes the help of the hero, they get back on their feet. I was quite eager to see how tis would happen in this novel. 
However, I got slightly disappointed because I feel the relationship lacks romance.

I didn't want the heroine to change completely just because she as being intimate with the hero. But their relationship evolved as too practical: they were intimate, she obviously wasn't fond of it, it was a sort of duty to her but while I didn't expect her to switch her behavior after one night, I also hoped their relationship outside the bedroom would change a bit more quickly so the bedroom scenes would develop at the same rhythm. 

Martha says at some point she would only love/easily welcome a man sexually if she could also admire him. And Theo isn't an admirable man at first. He grows up, he changes for the better but it's only at the end that things start to be easier with them and I guess I hoped for a more romantic plot, even maintaining the heroine's pragmatism in regard of the whole situation.
Martha's character is difficult to read. I know that is the oint and I liked how she didn't become a sex addict after one time with Theo. But when we read things from her POV it's not always understandable why she lacks emotions as much.
As for Theo, he is funny and easy going but we come to see his serious side and honestly, that was my favorite pat of the story, to see him slowly changing for better.

The end was also a bit too rushed and unromantic in my opinion. Things get to an acceptable point and when I imagined a lengthier epilogue, there was none, just the idea they were in love and would stay together despite those who wouldn't accept them. Ok, but an epilogue 5 years from then would have made things easier to visualize when it comes to the HEA.

I liked the idea of he heroine not being a silly woman scheming and I also really liked the notions there were people caring about servants and that they needed help and looking after. It was really amazing to see a story develop unlike most historicals out there. I was also great to see the book was not about who seduces whom the better, but I was instead a joining of forces and a gradual fall into love (but maybe a bit too subtle).
Maybe these ideas were focused on in an interesting way but then the lack of romance in some key moments and some other minor details just didn't make this story as engaging or addictive as I hoped for. Just my opinion, of course.

I still don't know if I'll read the rest of the series but so far this book didn't make me eager to get them...maybe after my TBR decreases a bit more..
This was mostly ok, interesting idea and details but overall, not as perfect for me.
Grade: 6/10

Monday, June 12, 2017

Ilona Andrews - Hidden Legacy series

Nevada Baylor is faced with the most challenging case of her detective career—a suicide mission to bring in a suspect in a volatile case. Nevada isn’t sure she has the chops. Her quarry is a Prime, the highest rank of magic user, who can set anyone and anything on fire.
Then she’s kidnapped by Connor “Mad” Rogan—a darkly tempting billionaire with equally devastating powers. Torn between wanting to run or surrender to their overwhelming attraction, Nevada must join forces with Rogan to stay alive.
Rogan’s after the same target, so he needs Nevada. But she’s getting under his skin, making him care about someone other than himself for a change. And, as Rogan has learned, love can be as perilous as death, especially in the magic world.

Nevada Baylor has a unique and secret skill—she knows when people are lying—and she's used that magic (along with plain, hard work) to keep her colorful and close-knit family's detective agency afloat. But her new case pits her against the shadowy forces that almost destroyed the city of Houston once before, bringing Nevada back into contact with Connor "Mad" Rogan.
Rogan is a billionaire Prime—the highest rank of magic user—and as unreadable as ever, despite Nevada’s “talent.” But there’s no hiding the sparks between them. Now that the stakes are even higher, both professionally and personally, and their foes are unimaginably powerful, Rogan and Nevada will find that nothing burns like ice …

Comment: The second book in this Hidden Legacy series by author Ilona Andrews was the choice for one of my book clubs, the one I participate in the most. At that moment, I hadn't yet read the first one but was obviously curious about it. The third book will be released very soon, which makes me very happy and that was why I just grabbed both first books and devoured them in the past three days.

I'll just write a few sentences about the two books but I won't take too long for one simple reason: the books are superb and as a whole, they put in evidence the amazing talent  of the authors and how cleverly they created such an amazing world.

In this new series, the plot revolves around Nevada Baylor, a private investigator who runs her family's company, something started and developed by her late father. Now Nevada provides for her family but all family members contribute for it. 
The story in book #1 begins when her boss, for her company belongs to a bigger one, financially speaking, asks her to do a job and Nevada realizes she is being asked to fail because the task is to convince Adam Pierce, a powerful pyrotechnic, to come with her and get back to his family which apparently he doesn't want to do. In comes Mad Rogan, a very powerful magic user who also has an interest in finding Adam. The two join forces to not only find Adam but to hand him in alive.
In book #2, the case and problems from book #1 were solved but now there is another situation which starts innocently enough but proves to be the starting point of Nevada's need to think about her life and of her family when it comes to their magic. While helping a client finding out who murdered his wife, Nevada once more joins forces with Mad Rogan and this time it seems their connection won't be denied.

Both books were amazing. I especially liked how, in book #1, the authors included a note explaining how this magical world came to be and how there are normal humans and there are magic users, whose magic can come in countless ways. I liked this small explanation because I can be aware of what allows this world to be this way without having to see it simply in conversations characters have. This means when they do talk or address that, we already have an idea.

I need to say again how amazed I get because this team of writers seems to flawlessly create a world where everything is not real but feels like it could be. The world building is simply extraordinary and realistic within its own rules.
Then we have several characters and their lives and hey bring to life this world. I always feel lie I could know these characters, hey can be amazing and special but there is a human side to them which makes them people I'd love to know personally. They matter and they think about what surrounds them and often there are humorous scenes to let us know it's not all about fights and power.

I won't go into specifics because this series (a trilogy to be more precise) is incentive enough to make people want to read it. The talent of the authors is obvious here and each page is a complex mix of addiction which explains why I read the books written by them so quickly. But the plot is interesting, it can appeal to different readers and it truly fascinating. I had a great time reading and can't wait for more. I know I'm being very vague but it's a double recommended book, not only for plot for for romance as well.
Grade: 9/10

Friday, June 9, 2017

Liz Trenow - The Forgotten Seamstress

It is 1910 and Maria, a talented young girl from the East end of London, is employed to work as a seamstress for the royal family. As an attractive girl, she soon catches the eye of the Prince of Wales and she in turn is captivated by his glamour and intensity.
But careless talk causes trouble and soon Maria’s life takes a far darker turn. Disbelieved and dismissed she is thrown into a mental asylum, shut away from the real world with only her needlework for company.
Can a beautiful quilt, discovered many years later, reveal the truth behind what happened to Maria?

Comment: This book got into my radar because I saw a review at Phyl's blog and she always summarizes her opinion in a way that, if a book is up my alley, her words convince me to try it. This story seemed interesting, therefore I got the book some time ago and this month finally decided to read it.

In this book we an almost dual time plot. I say almost because despite us having narratives from two different times, the focus is clearly in the present and the past is presented as a taped interview and not the usual narrative segments. 
In the present we follow Caroline, a 38 year old woman who just got laid off and finally deals with the reality of her mother's Alzheimer, which makes it difficult to help her on a daily basis and she will need money, which is about to decrease in case she doesn't find a new job. In the meantime, she inherits a quilt, although Caroline doesn't know if it belonged to her late grandmother or not. But the quilt is the connection between Caroline and Maria, a woman who used to live in an asylum and who was considered insane...

Now that I've finished the book, I have to say the idea is quite interesting and the secrets cleverly imagined. I also felt the need to investigate one or two things while reading just to have a better notion about the time frame of the past section.
There are two sections like I said, past and present.
The past is told through interview tapes and we get to know how the quilt - which is the main element of the story in a way - was done and by whom and why. We also are told Maria's story, for she is the narrator of that past section. Maria's story is complicated and unfair and avoidable but after going though things it's always easy to imagine alternatives. I confess I felt for Maria when she placed in a situation she couldn't control and how long she "paid" for a situation not only her fault.
The emotional side isn't aggressively exploited in this novel but it reaches interesting high peaks here and there and I did shed one tear or two.

The present side of things is told from Caroline's POV, and she is not only dealing with a lot in her personal life but she accepts the quilt as hers and because she is an artist at heart, she is planning on using it as an inspiration. Sadly, her mother is no longer wholly sane, so she can't simply ask her questions, which means she will need to investigate the quilt another way. The plot develops from there, intertwined with Maria's sections.

I liked both sections which is why I consider the book a good read but I confess Caroline had one two moments where I didn't like her much. Most of the time, she was a likable heroine, she was going through tough situations and then she has something incredibly hard happening to her and how she dealt with it was not done well, in my opinion. Here you have someone with lots on her mind, her mother's illness, her being laid off, having broken up with her boyfriend, her lack of confidence in her talent as an artist... and then, another huge problem which wasn't addressed well happened. I kind of get why that situation was put there - although, overkill - but the way things were dealt with was no where near acceptable, especially for a woman with Caroline's personality.

There is a mystery throughout the novel, which is solved rather well, even when I think that it can be seen as obvious from a certain point on. The way we find out wasn't imaginative or truly believable. There is also a conflict arising between Caroline and Ben, a man who helps her investigating the quilt's "movements" and also with other issue. Ben is a romantic element, which can be interesting if not for the silly argument for drama's sake and how his relationship with Caroline seemed a bit "flat" but perhaps that was just the writing style.
The end was rushed and could have been slightly sweeter when it comes to the romance.

All in all, I liked this book, even when I think about (and apparently focused on) the less than great elements. Some scenes were truly intriguing and made me want to keep reading. I might try something else by the author in the future...
Grade: 7/10

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Cat Sebastian - The Soldier's Scoundrel

Jack Turner grew up in the darkness of London's slums, born into a life of crime and willing to do anything to keep his belly full and his siblings safe. Now he uses the tricks and schemes of the underworld to help those who need the kind of assistance only a scoundrel can provide. His distrust of the nobility runs deep and his services do not extend to the gorgeous high-born soldier who personifies everything Jack will never be. 
After the chaos of war, Oliver Rivington craves the safe predictability of a gentleman's life-one that doesn't include sparring with a ne'er-do-well who flouts the law at every turn. But Jack tempts Oliver like no other man has before. Soon his yearning for the unapologetic criminal is only matched by Jack's pleasure in watching his genteel polish crumble every time they're together.  

Comment: This book has been pretty well recommended lately so I also added it to my TBR, since I like both historical romance and the m/m subplot. These books can be difficult to present, whether because it's not easily believable or because it's too close to reality, therefore unfair and difficult to accept looking through contemporary eyes. 

In this story we meet Jack Turner, he considers himself a scoundrel, his past isn't the best one but that's to be expected from someone who was born in a poor family. After years of service, Jack is now on his own, and he sort of caters to those justice can't or won't be able to help without everyone knowing, so Jack is a sort of private investigator and problem solver.
Oliver Rivington has come back from the war int he Peninsula, and he is now a free man but still feels out of sorts. He knows his sister went to Jack before and now he wants to know what was the nature of their business but soon finds himself immersed in Jack's new case.
Two man from different sides of the city, with different upbringings and stations in life, are brought together by chance but will they admit they are feeling something unique for each other as time and their days of proximity advance?

This was a fun and easy story to read. Nothing is too complicated, the investigation Jack is doing has a rather simple and almost anti climatic resolution and there aren't countless characters to worry about. This is mostly a romance story focused on Jack and Oliver ad how, despite their differences, they still feel attracted to one another and fall in love.

The relationship is truly the best thing because both seem to act reluctant in admitting they have feelings for one another but they still look out for one another. I just think we were shown rather too obviously how they were slowly falling in love and thinking of it.The scenes develop normally but usually one of them (mostly Jack) would think or have the inner monologue where the reader would just know they were thinking about the other more. Ok, this is pretty random and to be expected but it was mentioned so often, it started to be too noticeable and kind of seemed redundant.

However, it was really sweet to see them falling in love and step by step conquering each others' issues. Jack thinks he wouldn't ever be good for Oliver due to their social status differences but he is powerless to simply avoid Oliver or w«how he feels about him.
Oliver seemed to be a bit more fascinating to me. His personality is complex and interesting and the fact he limped also made him intriguing. Because Oliver was part of the war, his take on life and slightly different from Jack's and, besides, Oliver is at heart a gentleman who considers his honor something very important. I really liked how both of them counter balanced each other and used their strengths to be together. Of course, after a little bit of a conflict which one barely takes notice of. 

The HEA  of this book is sweet and cute but I admit I expected something a bit more realistic or where the situation was addressed with a more serious tone, I just got the feeling we just would want to see them happy but a bit more detail would have fit this quite well. 
Despite my quibbles about this and that, this story was fluid, the narrative easy and interesting and it had several romantic gestures/scenes to make it a great historical romance story.
I'll definitely try something else by the author too.
Grade: 8/10