Lady Eve Thorne was devastated when Mr. Benjamin Hillary left her at the altar. She’s no longer that starry-eyed young woman, and now that he’s back, he can go hang… At least that’s what she keeps telling herself. Eve has a new man in her life, and Ben is nothing but trouble.
The worst thing Benjamin Hillary ever did was abandon his bride-to-be on their wedding day. The hardest thing he will ever have to do is watch her marry another man. But once Ben realizes he might have a chance, he’ll do just about anything to win back Eve’s heart—anything.
Source: ARC from Sourcebooks Casablanca via NetGalley
While I enjoyed this fun Regency read I have to admit I had a few problems with it. Firstly, I know this book is part of a series, but since Ben’s return is still so recent, why not show the first time he and Eve cross paths again? I haven’t read any other books in this series, so I’m assuming it was in the last one (the brief references imply that) – but this is Eve and Ben’s book, so surely such an important scene should have been included? Instead it starts with Ben sneaking into a ball, but not to meet Eve. No, although he does meet Eve there, his main focus is instead on dealing with something completely different that doesn’t get cleared up for the majority of the book.
Which goes along quite neatly with the fact that it takes ages for Eve to actually ask Ben why he left, and she never once asks why he didn’t contact her for the two years he was gone. In fact she forgives him far too easily, because his explanation is weak at best. The reader gets much more of an insight into what happened to Ben, but Eve just accepts the fact he abandoned her for Reasons! and is fine with it all. Meh.
Thankfully there is one thing in this book that I absolutely loved – Sir Jonathan. He’s wonderful. He’s sweet and funny and a really good man. The dance lesson scene was brilliant and, since there’s far more to him than meets the eye, he’s also a whole lot more interesting than Ben. And Eve. In fact I would happily have dumped them mid-book to follow Jonathan instead.
And that’s the trouble with this book. Nothing happens, and once Jonathan leaves the picture most of the fun goes out of it too. Ben clearly loves Eve, Eve clearly loves Ben, so there’s no suspense in the romance – when in truth Ben should have done a whole lot more grovelling. After the marriage there’s a bit about PTSD, but to be honest I was too busy waiting for something interesting to happen that I didn’t care about that side of the plot at all.
Which all makes it sound as though I didn’t like it, which isn’t true. The first half of the book was great fun and I thoroughly enjoyed seeing what would happen next. The second half is okay. I certainly read it easily enough, but I wasn’t as interested in Ben and Eve’s romance as I’d hoped. Perhaps if I’d read the last book I would have cared more, but on it’s own this book didn’t quite work for me. It’s well written and fun in places and the characters certainly have potential, however the secondary ones are often more interesting than the main two.
Overall I recommend reading the series in order to get the best out of it. Which is what I will probably do sometime soon.
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