It’s such a pleasure today to join the blog tour for The Viscount’s Convenient Bride by Josie Bonham, and to share my review: the second in the Reluctant Brides series, it was published on 1st November, and is now available for kindle (free via Kindle Unlimited) and in paperback via Amazon in the UK and US. Thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for both the invitation and support, and to the author for my advance reading e-copy.
Do you know, I was quite surprised how much I enjoyed Josie’s last book, A Good Match for the Major, the first in this lovely series: I’m not usually the world’s biggest fan of Regency romance, but it really was a wonderfully told story, thoroughly gripping, with characters I loved, and the historical setting superbly handled (you’ll find my review here). So I was rather looking forward to reading more from this lovely author…
Luke, Viscount Enstone’s, resolve to avoid a love match is tested to its limit when he accepts responsibility for the Davenport family.
Luke has found it hard to sort out his late father’s affairs. A dishonest secretary and ailing land agent have left the family estates in disorder. With new people in place, he sets off to one of his smaller properties to discover the extent of an obligation that seems out of keeping with the cold-hearted father he remembers. Who is the young woman living at Shepley Hall and what was her connection to his father?
Miss Kitty Davenport has waited for a long time to find out if the new Viscount Enstone will continue the support his father gave to her family and her patience is wearing thin. Will he carry on paying for her young brother’s education and even assist him in finding a career? For herself, all she needs is help to find a suitable position as a companion and to escape from the unwanted attentions of a persistent suitor.
Well, I have to say I think she’s done it again – I thoroughly enjoyed this one, a wonderfully told and really gripping story with the most engaging characters at its heart, a Regency setting wonderfully created, and an author who’s rapidly becoming one of my personal favourites.
Kitty Davenport finds herself alone after the death of her aunt, and subject to the attentions of a persistent and unwelcome suitor – her father lost the family home and fortune in a card game before his death, and Kitty and her young brother are dependent on the patronage of Viscount Enstone, his links with the family rather shrouded in mystery. But there’s now a new Viscount – Luke is back from his time in the army and, while surprised to find out about his responsibilities towards the family, agrees to continue the financial support. But when he realises the danger Kitty is in because of her lack of a protector, he decides to take her to live with his Aunt Theo in London – she sees it as a temporary place of safety, until she can find a position as a governess and secure her future.
At first, the relationship between Kitty and Luke is difficult, but with an intriguing spark of attraction – a marriage of convenience becomes the obvious answer to his own need for a wife and a way to ensure her reputation remains intact amid the rumours that abound about her. The twists and turns of their relationship are absolutely fascinating – they’re both characters of real depth, Luke’s response to her particularly impacted by his difficult relationship with his late father, Kitty finding his changing moods particularly difficult to understand. But their growing attraction to each other is so very well handled – and Kitty begins to hope for a love match, however determined he might be to resist and keep her at a distance.
And then the story takes a turn – the threat to Kitty becomes considerably more real, the motivation behind those who seek to harm her something of a mystery that’s being slowly uncovered, and there follows the most wonderful edge-of-the-seat pursuit when she finds herself in real danger and can only hope Luke will manage to rescue her in the nick of time.
This book is the second in the Reluctant Brides series, but very much a standalone read – I did enjoy coming across a few characters who featured the first in the series, but that was just rather a treat, and new readers wouldn’t find their presence in any way difficult. If I were being critical (and I’m really not inclined to be), both books do have some similarities in their construction and the way the stories unfold, but I didn’t think that mattered a jot – this was a book I found difficult to put down as I was entirely swept away into a different age and the lives of its characters.
I really did love everything about this book – the historical setting with its conventions and constraints, the characters at the story’s centre (both Kitty and Luke won my heart, and the supporting cast was exceptionally well drawn and equally engaging), the increasing pace of the story as the danger became real, the complexities behind the loss of the Davenport fortune, the emotional baggage carried by Luke, the romance itself and its perfect touch of heat as the couple grow closer. And the writing really is excellent – I mentioned when I read the first book that the author’s enjoyment of telling the story (which she does so very well) is palpable, and that only increases the pleasure you experience as a reader. Highly recommended by me, and I’ll really look forward to reading more from this very talented author.
About the author
Josie lives in the English midlands, surrounded by towns full of history such as Evesham, Stratford-Upon- Avon, Warwick and Worcester. Which is perhaps why her favourite reads are historical. Out of all the periods to choose from the Regency Era stirs her imagination the most. The true Regency lasted from 1811 until 1820 but dates as wide as 1789 to 1837 have been included in the extended Regency period. For Josie the true flavour of this period emerges after the iniquitous hair powder tax of 1795, unsurprisingly, scuppered the fashion for hair powder almost overnight.
Josie has always dabbled in stories but it took the combined efforts of her sister and eldest niece to set her on the path to writing novels. Her Regency romances, with a dash of adventure and intrigue, are the result.
There is more information on her website at www.josiebonhamauthor.com