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61 / 165 books. 37% done!
Wednesday, November 14, 2018

I Don't Usually Love Regency Romances, But This One Is a Most Delightful Exception (With a Giveaway!)

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Juliana Ashbourne may be just a governess, but the 19-year-old has dreams that are grander than her station and richer than the pitiful sum she has squirreled away in her jewelry box.  When she receives notice that she has inherited a shockingly large amount from a grandfather she never knew, Julianna's dream of opening a school for girls is suddenly within reach.  There's only one caveat.  In order to get the money she must spend a month at Havenfield, the sprawling country estate where her mother grew up and from whence her mother was banned after eloping with an unsuitable man—Juliana's beloved father.  How can she accept such a bargain from the family that callously banished their own daughter, shunning her for the rest of her life? 

When circumstances force her hand, Juliana reluctantly travels to Havenfield to begin her sentence.  From the moment she steps onto the grounds, she finds herself among both friends and foes.  While her aunt pelts her with icy glares, Julianna feels only warmth from Mr. William Rowley, the handsome heir to Havenfield.  He might be a relentless tease, but his interest in Juliana is sincere.  Which only makes her place in this strange new world more confusing.  When a scandal threatens everything she's come to hold dear, Juliana must decide where she really belongs and what her heart truly wants.  

Although I'm not a big romance fan, Regency love stories always entertain me with their light, frothy storylines; engaging, witty banter; and virtuous, likeable characters engaged in clean, wholesome romancing.  I've come to expect (and accept) all the loosey-goosey plotting; cliché, too-good-to-be-true story people; and the same soap opera dramas playing out in the same stately parlors and gilded ballrooms.  Because they're more brain candy than soul food, it's rare for me to really love a Regency novel.  Which is why I found The Truth About Miss Ashbourne, a debut by Joanna Barker, such a delightful exception.  With its engaging plot, well-developed characters, slow-burning romance, and skillful prose, it kept me thoroughly entertained.  I loved the cast, especially Juliana, who kept surprising me even though I felt like I knew her.  The romance developed predictably, but over time, which made it feel less insta-lovey than other Regency couplings.  Although The Truth About Miss Ashbourne runs a little longer than I usually like these kinds of novels to go, I found I didn't mind at all.  In fact, I would eagerly read more books about these characters or at least by this talented new author on whom I will very definitely be keeping an eye.

(Readalikes:  Reminds me of Regency/Proper romances by Sarah M. Eden, Jennifer Moore, Julianne Donaldson, Josi S. Kilpack, etc.)

Grade:


If this were a movie, it would be rated:


for mild innuendo

To the FTC, with love:  I received a finished copy of The Truth About Miss Ashbourne from the generous folks at Covenant in exchange for an honest review.  Thank you!

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Reading

<i>Reading</i>
Tress of the Emerald Sea by Brandon Sanderson

Listening

<i>Listening</i>
The Silent Sister by Diane Chamberlain



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