Barbara’s rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Series: Synneful Spinsters #1
Publication Date: 11/8/22
Number of Pages: 343
I enjoyed this author’s previous series, Isle of Synne, where we met our current heroine in the final book. Miss Bronwyn Pickering is a Naturalist who specializes in Entomology. Her selfish, social climbing, overbearing parents aren’t enamored with her bookish ways and are bent on marrying her off to a titled gentleman. Bronwyn has spent years studying, analyzing, and collecting data – she’s even discovered a previously unknown beetle and she dreams of writing a scientific paper about it. That dream comes to a crashing end when her cruel parents went into her rooms, took all of her specimens, research notebooks, written papers, instruments, etc., and smashed them – then threw them all out. The only bright spot left in her life is her friends who collectively refer to themselves as The Oddments. Her parents have also just told her she will not be allowed to associate with those ladies anymore. According to her parents, her only goal in life is to make herself into the perfect lady in order to attract a titled gentleman.
Ash Hawkins, Duke of Buckley, had a horrendous home life as a child. Nobody was spared his father’s wrath – not his wife, not his son, not the servants, not even the children on the estate. He dealt wounding and killing blows with both his fists and his words. Everyone knew of his father’s reputation and took great delight in taking it out on Ash when he was away at school. As an adult, Ash knows he can’t afford to love anyone – he’ll taint anyone who is close to him – so when he ends up with three young wards he is at a total loss in how to handle them. He hires governess after governess and the wards just run them off. Then, the two youngest wards run off as well.
Ash is sorely in need of someone to raise his wards and when he discovers that the two younger ones have befriended Bronwyn Pickering, he proposes not ten minutes after meeting her. Bronwyn is sorely in need of liberation from her parents, so a marriage in name only would work for both of them. Until it doesn’t, of course.
This was a nice read – thus the three stars – but it just didn’t resonate with me personally. I didn’t buy the chemistry between Bronwyn and Ash and, more to the issue, I think I am just done with protagonists (particularly the males) who take on the sins of their fathers. I have read several of these – my father was a brute, therefore I am a brute – stories lately and I am just tired of them. So, while this was a perfectly nice story, it just didn’t reach out and pull me in. If you decide to give the book a try, I hope you will love it.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.