Reviewed by Sarah Brew
Sophie Wembley is about to discover two hard truths: When planning a rushed betrothal, one must not be picky; and when the perfect earl happens by, one must not be shy...
After receiving word that her sister has eloped, even ever-optimistic Sophie has trouble staying positive. She needs to secure her future before the scandal destroys her prospects, although she doesn't relish the idea of a hasty marriage. But her longtime crush has just shown up for the summer festival in Bath. He may be the key to avoiding disgrace and getting a happily ever after . . . if she can bring herself to pursue him.
John 'Evan' Fairfax, Earl of Evansleigh, is one of the most popular bachelors in the ton. However, his easygoing ways hide a dark past he's determined to keep secret. Evan has always kept acquaintances at arm's length for self-preservation, but there's something irresistible about Sophie... and her seductive charms may well sway the confirmed bachelor to seize a chance at love.
In the world of the ton, elopement puts the whole family beyond the pale – so when Sophie Wembley’s sister elopes, Sophie needs to act quickly to find a husband before the family’s shame becomes common knowledge.
She has someone in mind – but a bold approach is needed if she is to engage his interest. It’s the time of the summer festival in Bath and John, the Earl of Evansleigh is in Bath… but he and his sister have a secret. Just why have they both vowed never to marry? This mystery becomes apparent from early on in the book and immediately engages the reader’s attention.
Sophie is a delightful heroine, down to earth and intelligent; a far cry from her self-centred family. Her clumsiness only makes her more endearing. The Earl has a troubled background – I won’t say more as it spoils the anticipation – but his love for his sister shines through. As the story progresses, his love for Sophie grows; despite his intentions he finds her irresistible and their relationship unfurls at just the right pace. The characters are al well-drawn and I was especially attracted to Julia, the Earl’s sister – just why she was so waspish at the beginning is soon explained.
The musical background makes a refreshing and unusual setting but I did feel a slight ‘lack of place’– more could have been made of the beauties of Bath. And just how far would Sophie’s friend may have had to go to ‘accompany her to the banks of the Thames”, I wonder? At times, too, the language seemed a little modern. However, none of this spoilt what is an excellent read with an engaging storyline in the very best tradition of Regency romances. I can’t wait to meet some of the characters again!
I'd like to thank Clara at Little Brown for sending us a copy of this book and Sarah for reviewing the book for the blog.