Tracy’s rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Series: Stand Alone
Release Date: July 16, 2019
Lady Vanessa “Nessi” Blackburn has lived in Scotland with her exiled father, the Earl of Ketterham for the last six years, but now she is going to Cheshire to be reunited with her mother and twin sisters and plans to go to London for the season where she hopes to find a way to lift her father’s banishment.
Montgomery “Monty” Townsend, the youngest son of the Earl of Marlham, retired from the army at his father’s request and out of sheer boredom, started “fixing” potential scandals for the Prince Regent by acting as scapegoat for him. Currently Prince George’s amorous liaisons have set more than one angry husband after him and the Prince has yet another problem he needs handled, a problem that requires Monty to rusticate in the country. Lucky for Monty, the Prince has arranged accommodations with an old friend, Kathleen Blackburn.
Nessi and Monty meet on the road to her mother’s house, Nessi is disguised as a boy and appears to be traveling alone, so Monty invites her to join their party and quickly figures out she is not a boy. The shared secret begins a friendship between them and Monty’s support is invaluable to her once they reach her mother’s estate.
Once Nessi confronts her mother, she learns that her mom may have already found a way to bring her father back to England and Nessi immediately agrees to marry the son of the man that banished her father. The catch is the man – Daniel Rathban – doesn’t want to marry, he is an unrepentant rake who is completely jaded and has no interest in innocents. And for all her bravado, Nessi is an innocent and will need a teacher and she had the perfect man in mind – Monty! For his part, Monty is not happy about the engagement to Daniel, but Nessi will not reveal why she is so hell-bent on marrying him. All too soon, Monty realizes he wants Nessi for himself, but until he learns why she needs to marry Daniel, their chance fir love is doomed.
This was a cute story and I did enjoy it, but there is A LOT going on and most of it is ridiculous, plus just about every nobility title is used incorrectly and her mother’s title is so odd, that I can’t even begin to figure it out, the love scenes are tepid, the reason for Nessi’s father’s exile is lame and Monty is a bit hard to figure out – but for some reason, these things did not bother me nearly as much as I would have expected. The banter between Nessi and Monty is great, Nessi’s interaction with her sisters is spot on perfect, for the most part the book is just a lighthearted romp with a dash of drama and heartache, it is not perfect, but if you don’t try to take it too seriously, it is a very entertaining and enjoyable read.
*I am voluntarily leaving a review for an e-ARC that was provided to me by NetGalley and the publisher.*