Tuesday, April 22, 2014

eBook Review: The Daring Miss Danvers

It's all fun and games . . . until someone falls in love.

Oliver Goswick, Viscount Rathburn, needs money—and soon. With time ticking away and his inheritance held hostage until he's properly wed, Rathburn's slim options point to a single solution: a faux engagement. In need of the perfect bride, he knows of only one candidate: his best friend's wallflower sister. The plan seems flawless, except for one problem . . . He can't help falling in love with her.

Poised, polished Emma Danvers knows nothing good can come of Rathburn's scheme. Spending the next two months engaged in a mock courtship is not what she'd imagined for her final season. Yet, charmed by his roguish ways and the inexplicable hammering he causes in her heart, she accepts his challenge.

For Emma, keeping the secret seemed easy when it was just a game . . . But as Rathburn begins to see past her reserved exterior to the passionate woman within, the risk of losing her heart becomes all too real

Back when I was part of Avon Addicts (in late 2012/early 2013) one of the books I reviewed as part of the holiday season was "Five Golden Rings", an anthology of Christmas short stories.  Part of the collection included the precursor to Lorret's new series "Wallflower Weddings" called "Tempting Mr. Featherstone" it was my favorite story of the set in fact.  We return now to watch as Penelope's three friends--Delaney, Emma and Merribeth--find their own true loves in adventures of their own.

Emma is, both in her opinion and the general opinion of everyone else (friend, family or otherwise), a decorous, modest young woman interested in propriety.  She has to be else she will never find a suitable husband; not with her "artiste" parents disgracing her and her older brother Rafe's best friend Oliver Rathburn glaring all eligible young men away during balls.  Which is perfect for Oliver since she also happens to be not only the only young lady that his severe grandmother approves of (thus helping him gain his inheritance finally), but also the only woman he can think of as a perfect match for him.

This begins more or less how you'd expect a romance of its kind to--Emma and Oliver are constantly at swords point with each other.  Oliver flirts outrageously with her, getting away with it mostly because Emma has the most lackadaisical parents and chaperone I have ever read in a historical romance.  Meanwhile Emma silently laments never hearing her parents say "We're so proud of you", they finally say as much because they believe she's running head first into catastrophe!  Its not that they're neglectful or cruel or unloving; at some point they said FU to the ton and became happier for it so they want their daughter to find that same level of happiness.

In no time at all Oliver realizes that the bumble broth he's found himself in is not causing him anxiety at all, in fact he is vastly excited about the prospect and wants Emma to feel the same way.  Which good luck to that since Emma is certain he is not serious and besides she wants someone who grounds her, not encourages her to make out in public with him causing scandal.

This was a thoroughly enjoyable book, but as much as I liked the characters I found myself wincing any time Emma's parents appeared.  Their acceptance of Oliver's faux engagement plan was just too easy.  Neither so much as batted an eyelash at what could, at the very worst, destroy their daughter's chances at marriage to anyone even partially acceptable. 

And honestly the dancing around their emotions thing seemed to go on forever.  Don't get me wrong, Oliver realizes much quicker then Emma his feelings, but neither was in a hurry to vocalize said feelings even as they both fretted over various disasters (not the least of which was Emma's brother, who I'm pretty sure would have gotten over it if he had seen how openly in love the two were with each other).

I found Emma (and Oliver by proxy)'s battle of wills with Oliver's grandmother, the dowager duchess, to be far more entertaining.  On the one hand the dowager was everything Emma hoped to one day be--upright, seen as a beacon of propriety despite her family's eccentricities and a formidable hostess.  However the lady terrifies her and really she doesn't want to inspire that feeling in people.

The set up for both Delaney and Merribeth's romances (of which Merribeth is next, with "Winning Miss Wakefield") are present, but don't distract.  Neither does the continuation of Penelope's romance (and aren't they just the cutest pair ever?).  Really if Oliver and Emma had just admitted things a little sooner I would have been perfectly happy to watch them join forces to beat the dowager at her own game for the rest of the novel!