Monthly Archives:: April 2018

Review: ‘The Fortune Hunter’ by Diane Farr

April 12, 2018 Review 0

Oh boy (fans self). This was a sizzler and no mistake. And yet, pretty clean. There’s one actual sex scene, although very tastefully done and completely non-graphic, but the rest of it is all kisses and gentle touches. And yet… so hot.

The story picks up the most interesting character from the previous book, Falling For Chloe. Lord Rival is one of the ton’s most notorious rakes, who’s been living a precarious hand-to-mouth existence ever since he inherited his run-down estate some twelve years ago. He’s so impoverished that he lives in rooms with no servants, and does all the work of taking care of his clothes. He survives by playing piquet for money against rich, not terribly bright women who fall for his charms and see their losses as a fair price for an hour in the gaming room with his undivided attention. But he’s beginning to realise that he needs to do something more permanent to resolve his financial woes, and that means marrying an heiress.

Top of his list is the elusive Lady Olivia Fairfax, and he meets the lady in the most inauspicious circumstances. She is dressed in old clothes, engaged in cleaning up the stored treasures of a recently deceased gentleman for one of her charity projects. He, not unnaturally, mistakes her for a maid, and so they get off on quite the wrong foot. But some odd clauses in the deceased gentleman’s will throw them together anyway, and since he’s determined to win her and she is equally determined that he won’t, the sparks soon fly.

There’s an oddness about money in this book. George (Lord Rival) is supposedly dead broke, but in the previous book he managed to win several hundred pounds at a time from his besotted victims, and in this one he’s offered an annuity of eight hundred pounds a year. These are large sums, and with a combination of the annuity and some light card play, he could give himself a substantial income of several thousand a year, more than adequate to restore his estate. But, no matter.

This is one of those books that takes a completely unlikeable character and, by shining a light on his history and circumstances, makes him into something approaching a real hero. I liked George a lot, and was really rooting for him to work out what it was that he really wanted, which, rather foolishly, he seems to be in the dark about. Olivia I was less enamoured of. She has the hots for George right from the start (as all the women he meets seem to), and she allows him to take a great many liberties, yet she won’t agree to marry him. I thought he had the patience of a saint to put up with her yes-please-no-don’t-yes-please shenanigans. But the banter between them is glorious, and did I mention how hot this book is?

The ending is perfect. I did wonder how the author was going to resolve the central issue of the situation, but she carried it off magnificently. That’s all I will say about it. Five stars.

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Review: ‘Falling For Chloe’ by Diane Farr

April 12, 2018 Review 0

I loved the two previous books I read by Diane Farr, but this one is a bit of a mish-mash. There are some delightful moments mixed in with some ho-hum parts that just don’t work for me.

The plot: Gil and Chloe have been the best of friends for years. He’s now a man-about-town and she’s a spirited and independent young lady who’s perfectly content to live a secluded country life. But when they inadvertently find themselves in a compromising situation, some kindly soul sends a notice of their engagement to the newspaper. Then Gil’s sister Tish takes the inexperienced Chloe under her wing and launches her into London society.

The writing is very much inspired by Georgette Heyer, and unfortunately many of the characters are drawn from her favourite stereotypes, too. Chloe is the innocent young girl getting into scrapes, Gil has the two regulation not-very-bright friends, there’s an overbearing mother and a devilish rake… all the usual suspects. And the plot is driven by misunderstandings and silliness which is all resolved with a wave of the hand in the last chapter.

There are two aspects that really grated on me. One is Gil’s sister, whose marriage of three years, although founded on love, is now falling apart, and all because the husband and wife don’t bother to talk to each other. This breaks one of the cardinal rules of any romance, for me, that a happy marriage should be happy for life, and the wife shouldn’t be off flirting with a notorious rake. And here’s the other point that bothered me. Chloe, our otherwise charming heroine, sees Tish’s rake and is promptly drawn to him herself, to the point of kisses and other bad behaviour in a betrothed lady, even if the betrothal is a bit of a sham. She might not realise that she’s in love with the hero, but she shouldn’t be getting hot and bothered over another man.

Despite these issues, I really enjoyed the read, and the romance came to a very satisfactory conclusion, even if they did have to be prodded into it rather. Four stars.

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Review: ‘The Governess Affair’ by Courtney Milan

April 12, 2018 Review 0

This is a curious one. Hugo Marshall is known as the Wolf of Clermont, as the man who does all the dirty work for the rather unpleasant Duke of Clermont. When governess Serena Barton turns up to demand compensation from the duke, and is prepared to sit on the bench outside his house until he gives in, the duke turns to Hugo to make the problem go away. And that’s exactly what he’s prepared to do, by fair means or foul. When Serena refuses an offer of money, Hugo turns to less pleasant means of persuasion.

Fair enough. But the really curious part of all this is that neither of them is honest with the other. Hugo allows her to go on thinking that he’s just a lowly secretary for far too long, and Serena simply refuses to tell him exactly what it is that the duke is supposed to have done. I could never quite see the point of this. How is anyone supposed to deal with a woman who complains of some unspecified bad behaviour?

Another oddity concerns money. Serena and her sister supposedly live on £15 a year (this at a time when a housemaid probably earned £20 a year, plus her board and lodging). They would only survive on so little if they kept chickens and grew some of their own vegetables. They certainly wouldn’t be able to afford the tea they drink! And Hugo is doing all his dirty work for a lump sum of a mere five hundred pounds, which would go nowhere, even invested. I assume the author has good reason for choosing these amounts but they seemed very low to me.

However, the romance, when it gets going, is lovely and there’s a glorious sex scene that I absolutely loved. So in the end I compromised, and gave it four stars, but it’s an oddity and no mistake.

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