Title: The Pleasure of the Rose
Author: Jane Bonander
Series: The MacNeil Legacy #1
Genre: Victorian Romance
Length: Short novel
Available: 23rd Aug
As Fletcher MacNeil sat in a jail cell, the last thing he expected was a Scottish solicitor bearing news of an inheritance. Fletcher, half Comanche and half Scottish, is the only surviving heir to Castle Sheiling and a fortune beyond his wildest dreams. But to claim it, he must escape his current predicament and travel across the ocean to a world of loyal clans and kinsmen where Fletcher s very appearance marks him as outsider.
Rosalyn Geddes, housekeeper of Sheiling, is relieved to hear that the new earl of Kintyre has been located in America. But the last thing she expected was the mysterious, darkly handsome man who appears on the castle doorstep. Rosalyn cannot believe he is a MacNeil, let alone the new earl. But there s something about this man a power and magnetism that draws her in.
Fletcher learns that his inheritance comes with a caveat he must produce an heir within one year s time or the fortune goes to a rogue cousin of the late earl. A marriage of convenience is proposed, and Roz reluctantly agrees. What begins as purely a business transaction blossoms into something more. Roz begins to feel herself open up to the possibility of love, but the question of whether Fletcher will leave her once he s met the terms of the will continues to loom over their relationship. Can they overcome Roz s tragic past and Fletcher s uncertain future?
Source: ARC from Diversion Books via NetGalley
If you like your historicals easy to read, with a slightly different kind of hero, then you might well enjoy this. On the whole I did, it’s just that it felt a little incomplete for me. Things happen very quickly, big changes take affect without much notice and some things that are built up to seem very important just fade away without a whimper.
Like Fletcher. He’s half-Comanche, half-Scot, had a difficult relationship with his father and starts off this novel in jail for a murder he didn’t commit. He’s from Texas, yet he takes to Scotland with only a brief thought about the weather… really? I would also have thought living in a drafty castle, peopled with some, er, interesting characters would have been slightly different for him. I’d also have liked to have known more about his Comanche heritage – and what he did after he left home in a massive sulk. In fact, there’s so much about Fletcher’s past that I’d like to know, but it never really gets explored or dealt with.
Instead we get a man who is arrogant at times, kindly at others, definitely has a crude sense of humour and doesn’t treat Rose particularly nicely at first. Then again, she’s not exactly nice to him either.
Rose also suffers from important details being picked up and dropped at random. Such as her pregnant dog. I thought something more would come of that, but nope. One moment Sima is ready to pop, then we forget about her for a week or two and suddenly puppies. Rose also has a difficult past, which is slowly teased out of her through the book, but again gets dropped once it’s served its purpose. I would have expected more emotional turmoil given her growing relationship with Fletcher and her pregnancy.
Speaking of that pregnancy… the passage of time is all messed up in this book. If I go by what I read, she gives birth at six/seven months, which can’t be right. Also, I would have loved to have seen more of her relationship with Fletcher. One moment they haven’t slept together in months, the next they’re back sharing a bed, then it’s love. When and how did that happen?
It’s not that there’s too much going on in this book – although there is a lot – it’s just that none of it gets the attention or detail that I would have liked or expected. Such as the chaperone. I could have sworn that was going somewhere, only it didn’t. Which is a shame, because it had a tendency to leave me feeling a bit flat. And that, sadly, is how I feel about the book as a whole. It’s easy to read, is enjoyable at times, interesting at others, but overall it just fell a bit flat for me.
The Pleasure of the Rose is out August 23rd.
Visit Jane Bonander for more details.