I don’t normally read bodice-ripper romance novels. Heck, I normally don’t read any romance novels for the most part. If my YA book or fantasy includes love interests, I love it, but I don’t read them specifically for the sex or romance. I was given this book as a way to “broaden my horizons”, and I guess you can consider them broadened, though I’ll be honest when I say I haven’t read enough in this genre to know what makes a “good” romance novel or not.
For starters, I never believed the chemistry between Rathbourne and Bathsheba (also, that name... it’s like hitting a person over the head with a neon sign saying “she’s rumored to be an evil temptress”). They are attracted to each other, but I was expecting the forbidden fruit of their romance to be what made them so enticing, but it wasn’t, because from the onset you kind of know that the elite society has got it pretty wrong with it comes to these two. So they spend a few days on the road chasing down misbehaving children, and suddenly are fighting to NOT rip each other’s clothes off? I don’t know, it just never got me all that hot or bothered; they just weren’t that interesting. There were some amusing conversations, and I enjoyed the period piece writing the author captures, but these two just felt overly forced from the start.
Oddly enough, I enjoyed reading about the kids, Peregrine and Olivia, a great deal more. Their exploits and adventure sounded so much more fun! Part of me wished the adult’s story had been more like the kids, but it never was. I enjoyed reading about Olivia and Peregrine’s misadventures and their strong personalities a great deal more, and while I don’t know a lot about romance novels, I know that’s NOT what I should have been enjoying most! There were also a few instances where there were POV violations, which I found odd from this author. We’d be in Rathbourne’s section, but then a paragraph or two would seem to be from Bathsheba’s perspective, then switch back to Rathbourne… it didn’t happen often, but when it did, it was rather jarring.
All in all, I just never had very strong feelings one way or another about these characters, or the story as a whole. But I may pick up “Last Night’s Scandal” as it does feature a more grown up Peregrine and Olivia. The author does a wonderful job transporting the reader to another place and time, and she has a real talent for dialogue, so I definitely would read her works again, but this book was just too “meh” for my tastes, so it’s a pretty low 3 stars.
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