PUBLISHER: Brava, 8/2013
GENRE: Historical Romance
SETTING: Wales, 1820/21
SERIES: The London List, book 3
AUTHOR SITE: link
MY GRADE: C
FROM PUBLISHER: Lady Imaculata Anne Egremont has appeared in the scandalous pages of the London List often enough. The reading public is so bored with her nonsense, she couldn't make news now unless she took a vow of chastity. But behind her naughty hijinks is a terrible fear. Its time the list helped her. With a quick scan through its job postings and a few whacks at her ridiculous name, she's off to keep house for a bachelor veteran as plain Anne Mont.
Major Gareth Ripton-Jones is dangerously young and handsome on the face of it, but after losing his love and his arm in short order, he is also too deep in his cups to notice that his suspiciously young housekeeper is suspiciously terrible at keeping house. Until, that is, her sharp tongue and her burnt coffee penetrate even his misery - and the charm underneath surprises them both. Trust the worst cook in Wales to propose a most unexpected solution to his troubles...
MY THOUGHTS: I'm sorry to say this was a letdown. It started out interesting enough. The heroine, nineteen year old, red-haired, hazel-eyed Imaculata aka Anne/Annie, is escaping her father, who's tried to molest her for the past four years, since her mother died. She flees England for Wales and is employed by the hero, dark haired, blue-eyed Gareth, thirty-three.
Gareth is an alcoholic who lost part of his left arm after it wouldn't heal properly after he broke it. People also think he's guilty of killing his lover, Bronwen. She was raped and strangled. He's also destitute and Anne comes along at the right time- he's about to lose his home.
Anne comes up with a plan to help them both out of a bad situation. They say I love you far too soon and marry too soon. Once the plan is decided upon I lost interest in them (it happened so early on) but not in finding out who really killed Bronwen. That subplot was desperately needed because the main story wasn't enough to hold my interest. Everything just went too fast with them and there was nothing left for the author to talk about.
Both lead characters were likeable and there was no conflict, which I feel is necessary. I hate when they get along so well right from the start. We learned nothing about Gareth before he went off to war. I need backstory on Gareth that goes back more than a year, which was how long it had been since he'd lost part of his arm. The only thing we learned about his past was Bronwen, who turned out to be a not so great person. We learned nothing about his childhood.
The author switches between calling the heroine Anne and Annie far too often. I also didn't like his cousin Ian at all nor the cast of characters who were involved with the wedding. I think he was written into the story for one reason only.
The ending with her father was so unbelievable that it left me shaking my head. The story could have been so much better, darker and deeper, what with the alcoholic hero and almost-molested heroine. That dark subject matter wasn’t handled well at all. The story just ended up being bland.
Please see my old interview with Maggie here.
I received this from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.