Thanks to Avon Publishing & Netgalley for the complimentary ARC. All opinions provided are my own.
️Q: childhood best friends to eventual lovers stories—love them, indifferent to them, dislike them?
Joanna Shupe’s The Devil of Downtown was one of my fave releases last year & she’s rapidly become one of the authors I can depend on for a meltingly hot scene or two. But sadly The Heiress Hunt just doesn’t work so much for me.
Harrison Archer overhears his BFF Maddie Webster say that she thinks of him like a brother...on the night he plans on telling her he’s in love with her. Crushed, he heads to Paris for three years, dropping contact with her entirely, sowing his wild oats, & working on making a name & livelihood for himself—a necessary thing since his horrible, wealthy family disowned him.
Now, back in the US, he learns that Maddie is still not married but maybe almost engaged to a Duke, & he decides to ask her for help finding a spouse as part of a plan to take down his horrible family & to spend more time with her in Newport.
I’ll be honest: I didn’t entirely warm to either lead in this one. As Maddie notes, Harrison is ruthless in pursuing his agenda (*this time around*) but it was never a kind of ruthlessness that warmed my heart, for whatever reason. Maybe because she isn't asking for a lot & he keeps ignoring her wishes time & time again.
There are some things I love about how Maddie is portrayed. A tennis superstar who works hard at her dream?! Yes! How she takes charge during their first sex scene, re-calibrating some power dynamics?! Yes double yes!!
But I just don't see a lot of depth to either character & don't really see a deliberate moment of change/agency on her part—outside of tennis—until the end. The big issue in their relationship is how Harrison takes control & doesn’t see her as a partner & that’s reflected in the story itself; unfortunately—despite the things I love about her characterization—Maddie often fades into the background for me.
The Heiress Hunt has some super sexy scenes, a hero who is utterly devoted to the heroine, a heroine who is ready to take on the world of competitive tennis—so many good things. However, it sadly falls flat for me.
Look for me to be one of the first ones screaming with excitement about Joanna Shupe’s next book, though. I am a major fan.
3.5 ⭐️. The Heiress Hunt is out on 03/09.
Thanks to @readforeverpub & Netgalley for the complimentary ARC. All opinions provided my own.
@romance.in.the.wild 's glowing review of Emily Sullivan’s A Rogue to Remember made me request it right away & let me tell you that I did not regret it. This stunning debut is so emotionally rich, the setting is sumptuous, the way it kept me on a knife’s edge until it finally tumbled into a HEA was divine.
Set largely in 1897 Italy, ARTR tells the second chance story of Lottie Carlisle & Alec Gresham, who both grew up with Lottie’s political mastermind uncle as guardian. Very close as children, they had one magical night where it seemed their relationship would become romantic & then Alec left abruptly without word.
Five years later, Alec, an agent of the crown, has come to Italy to bring the wealthy Lottie back to England before she succeeds in deliberately ruining herself. On their journey home they must wrestle with the weight of their past, shared & not, &, among other things, Alec must decide if he’s willing to take what Lottie would offer.
I’m so excited about Emily Sullivan’s talent, about these characters she’s written & how beautifully she writes their journey. On top of the aforementioned emotional mastery on display here, this book offers stellar sex scenes including one in front of a mirror 🥵 & I think that’s all I need to say about that.
I did think that one aspect of the plot could have been a little tighter but wow, what a book!
5 ⭐️. A Rogue to Remember is available on 03/09/21.
Give me that HEA, please.
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