He’s known her for her whole life, but he’s never thought of her like this until now.
House parties are notoriously dangerous for the gentleman who wishes to remain single, and Roger Shelton would be avoiding the one at the Abernathys’ if it wasn’t his best friend’s birthday.
Victoria Hamilton is only attending the Abernathys’ house party to please her mother. She has no thought of finding a husband amongst the hopeful gentlemen in attendance. In fact, she expects that the party will be rather dull. However, when her friend arrives, boredom becomes the least of her worries.
While Roger is not ready to give up his bachelor ways just yet, he’s not opposed to helping others find their way to marital bliss — especially, if that someone is a marriage-minded miss who seems to be fond of him. Therefore, when Roger enlists Victoria’s help in his matchmaking scheme, he only means to keep himself safe from being caught in the parson’s trap.
However, his intentions change along the way, when he discovers that avoiding marriage is the last thing he wants to do for there is a lady who has long held his heart. It is a realization that has been a long time coming, but with schemers playing their games, is it a realization which is made too late?
Written by: Leenie Brown
First published: May 2019
I don’t usually read Austen fan fic so I’m not sure if this is true to the genre or not. It is certainly a lovely little story though with the friends to lovers trope that I really like. (It’s one that works really well in short stories too given there’s already a relationship between the two leads).
For such a short book there’s definitely a lot going on – men trying to compromise young ladies; young ladies trying to compromise bachelors; broken engagements; and new engagements – but I never felt as if the main story had been rushed or compromised in any way.
There are hints of an earlier book (His Beautiful Bea) but you don’t have to have read that book to enjoy this one.
I liked the Grace storyline, though the hateful sister storyline is a pet hate of mine. I would like to read more about Grace and her search in due course.
I did not like the emphasis on how terrible marriage is for men though and how horrible it is to be sought after – “Free from females seeking to snare him” was a common theme. Given marriage was the only way most women gained independence, this attitude by male ‘heroes’ really grates on me.
Ultimately, although I was left with the feeling that this was very lightly Regency flavoured, I definitely enjoyed it as a weekend read with a cup of tea and biscuit.