Barbara’s rating: 3.5/4 of 5 stars
Series: Playful Brides #11.5
Publication Date: 2/8/19
Number of Pages: 120
My rating is 3.5 stars rounded up to 4
This is a lovely second-chance romance novella. It is well-written, but I felt it was a bit rushed and I didn’t feel as if I were ‘finished’ with it at the end. I loved the storyline, I liked the main characters, I adored the secondary couple, and the children were wonderful. I just felt like there were chunks of story that were missing or things progressed much too fast. Too fast? Consider the scene during their first dinner and then moving to the library. I don’t want to say too much and spoil it, but when you read it you’ll see what I mean.
I loved that we got to spend time with Lucy and Derek again. Catching up with them and seeing their love and their life as a married couple was wonderful and their two children were a great addition to the story. It was nice to see that Derek has resigned himself to Lucy’s matchmaking and just loves her to distraction. This time, Lucy is matchmaking for Derek’s brother, Collin and their childhood neighbor Erienne Stone. I would have thought that Collin’s story would have come earlier in the series since Lucy and Derek were the featured H/h in the first book, but maybe it took a while to find just the right lady for him.
Collin and Erienne had a relationship of some sort when they were younger. You learn what that relationship was in bits and pieces as you move through the story. It is a story of family betrayal and feelings of unworthiness that cost these two fourteen years of being miserable and apart. Neither of them ever married.
Collin Hunt and his two brothers are basically ‘from the wrong side of the tracks’. Their father was put out of the army because of his overindulgence in alcohol. Their father was also cruel to them because he was training them to be soldiers. Both Collin and Derek were very good at soldiering. Derek’s success earned him the title of Duke of Claringdon for his heroism during the war and Collin is now a general and a high ranking member at the Home Office. Most of Collin’s career can’t be mentioned because he spent his time as a spy.
Erienne defied her parent’s marriage expectations and left home to become a governess. Now, fourteen years later, the children she was caring for are grown and it is time for her to move on to her next family. When the agency sets her up with an interview with the Duchess of Claringdon, she doesn’t feel she can turn it down. She’s truly surprised at herself when she finally – after much persuasion by the Duchess – accepts the job. She’s torn – she wants to know about Collin, but she’s afraid she can’t handle actually seeing him.
It really is a nice story, but I think I could have lived with a little less backstory if it bought me more time with the couple in the ‘now’. More time for me to know them and them to know each other and especially more time for a less abrupt ending. There was a distinct lack of conversation and discussion between them. They just go straight to lust and remain there. The proposal is entertaining but certainly lacks romance. As I read, I thought “What, this is it?” and it was.
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