Series: Husband Hunters, #1
Release Date: January 2, 2018
Tracy’s Rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
I liked the idea of this book, but in my opinion, there are way too many improbable situations for this to be a 5 star read.
Jane Fawkener has been living in the Middle East with her father for years, but when he goes missing and is presumed dead, she returns to London and visits his bankers, hoping that he left a message for her with them. What she finds is not a letter, but a book “The Husband Hunter’s Guide to London” and learns that he left her only the book and £200 to keep her until she finds a husband. She cannot believe her father is dead and thinks the book might have clues to his whereabouts.
Edmund Dalby, Viscount Hazelwood is the disowned son of the Earl of Vange, a wastrel and a spy. He was recruited into service after his father disowned him for his profligate ways and he agreed to spy for a year and in return the crown would pay his debts. Until now his missions have been to collect information from gaming hells and brothels, but now he has been tasked with watching Miss. Fawkener and learning what information her father might have passed to her about the Russians.
Jane meets Hazelwood when she is leaving the bank and passes out – apparently her stays were laced too tight and she is not accustom to wearing English clothing. Hazelwood is introduced to her as a protocol officer assigned to help her prepare for the investiture ceremony being held for her father – he is to be given a knighthood for his service to the crown. Jane wants nothing to do with Hazelwood or the government – she just wants to find her father, so she tries to loose Hazelwood.
Hazelwood is diligent in his duties, much to Jane’s dismay and it becomes clear early in the book, that someone is out to harm Jane. Her rooms are broken into, they are followed and she is physically accosted.
Hazelwood takes Jane to see her grandmother and her uncle and after meeting with her uncle, Jane has an idea of where the key to the clues in her book might be. She attends a musicale at her cousins house to see if she was correct. Hazelwood crashes the party and is jealous of the attention Jane is receiving. He takes her home and they share a kiss.
The next day while shopping with her cousins, she sees a man that was with her father the last time she saw him and follows him into the shop. The man is nowhere to be seen, but Hazelwood steps out of the back room and seems overly familiar with the shop girl. Jane is hurt and thinks that the kiss they shared was just a ruse on Hazelwood’s part to get information from her. She leaves the shop and he follows. While talking to her on the street another attempt is made on her and Hazelwood uses the distraction to steal her book.
Later when Jane realizes her book is gone, she makes a deal with Miranda (the shop girl). Later when they both attend a party, she avoids him, but on the ride back to her hotel, he tells her the truth, that he is a spy and that Miranda is nothing to him. Jane is not sure what to believe and goes through with her plan and with Miranda’s help, steals her book back from Hazelwood. He awakes while she is in his room, and tells her they could work together, she declines and tells him she is moving in with her cousins and will see him at the ceremony.
When another attempt is made on her life, Hazelwood realizes that he loves her and will do anything to keep her safe. They form a plan to remove her from her cousins, but Miranda’s jealousy will cause the plan to go awry and place Jane in even more danger.
The story is interesting, but the writing is a bit choppy and the “love story” aspect of the book is almost nonexistent – there are no real love scenes nor are there any “I love yous” – for me this is a necessity in a romance novel – I prefer steamy reads, but if the love story is good, I can do without them, but sadly this was not the case in this story. This book was more like a historical intrigue novel versus a romance. There are also a number of improbable situations that just made the story unbelievable to this reader. So while I enjoyed the idea of the story, I found the execution lacking, but not enough to stop me from wanting to read the next book in the series.
*I am voluntarily leaving a review for an eARC that was provided to me by NetGalley and the publisher*