I knew from my previous outings with Ms. Dare that her Castles Ever After series is all about the quirky and fanciful. The conceit of these novels is that a generous benefactor, the Earl of Lynforth, has bequeathed a series of castles – not just properties – to his nieces and goddaughters is in and of itself a bit kooky. Book two in the series introduces us to Miss Clio Whitmore, inheritor of Twill Castle. She has also been engaged to Piers Brandon, now Marquess of Granville, for eight years. Eight very long years. Following her newfound inheritance, and the deaths of their respective parents, Clio decides to formally break the engagement, stop waiting for Piers to get around to marrying her and being stuck in a marriage to a near stranger (have I mentioned she’s barely seen him in 8 years?), and just be her own person with her own home, and her own business.She just needs to convince Piers brother Rafe to sign the appropriate paperwork. He however is hellbent on getting her to the altar, because that’s what he should do for his brother. Regardless of his own feelings.
This is probably a 3.5 rounded up to a 4-star book for me. The pacing in the beginning was off, Dare’s amusing abandonment of strict historical accuracy just let me brain fill in what time period I wanted (I decided 1870s because why not? Regency doesn’t have to have all the books), and the “I’m too damaged and unlovable to have the woman I want” hit a little too close to home due to some recent events so while I liked the characters of Clio (whose name I made Cleopatra) and Rafe they also exasperated me just a little. I also spent a lot of time with this expression on my face, particularly whenever the side characters entered the plot and especially when Bruiser had his quizzing glass:
But perhaps the most importantly, I am left flummoxed by my library. My beautiful lovely library who always finds me all the books. SOMEONE DECIDED THE FRONT OF THIS BOOK NEEDED A POST IT NOTE ON IT TO PROTECT MY EYES. From what? I don’t know.
Our very own queen of the upvotes, emmalita, says perhaps they are in cahoots with big dressmaking, because of the apparent shoddy workmanship of the dress just *falling* off her body. Also, I’m not upset at the amount of back we’re seeing here, I’m annoyed that a character who is supposed to be on the voluptuous side is on the slim side here. Although at least they remembered she was supposed to be blonde, I never did.
To wrap up:
If you like a bit of romantical fluff with good sexy times and witty banter and flat out funny moments, you can’t really go wrong with Dare, but your mileage may vary with this one in particular. Although we’re pretty uniform in a 3.5-5 star rating at the charitable Cannonball Read.