Here we go again. I’ve just finished another series by Anne Gracie and I told myself I’d take a break from historical romances, but it’s hard to resist their siren song. In this book, impoverished governess Abigail Chantry saves her sister Jane and her two friends Damaris and Daisy from a brothel. Abigail’s mean employers sack her, and because she can’t find any honest work she sneaks into a mansion one night looking for things to steal. Instead she finds Lady Bea, a bedridden noblewoman whose servants are taking advantage of her. Lady Bea decides that the four young women should come and live with her, so they’ll have a roof over their head and Lady Bea will have someone to care for her. So far it’s a little (a lot) far-fetched, but okay.
Enter the hero, Max, Lady Bea’s nephew. Max has been abroad for nine years restoring the family’s fortune, and when he returns he finds four women calling themselves the Chance sisters in his house, and Lady Bea claims that they are her nieces. Instead of asking for an explanation, he decides to be pig-headed and insists that the Chance sisters are the ones who have been mistreating his aunt. This pisses off Abigail, who’s very fond of Lady Bea, so Abigail and Max spend most of the book being snippy with each other for no good reason. The problem is that they’re the book’s designed couple, so they get together in the end, but I never felt that there was such a great passion. The height of romance in the book was when Max was turned on watching Abby eat some syllabub at dinner. Uh, whatever.
It wasn’t a bad book, it was just bland. A lot of time was spent establishing the characters of Abby’s sisters and Max’s business partners. Conveniently, there’s three of them, and there are also winter and spring and summer left… I think I see where this is going. My biggest gripe with the book would be that there’s nothing particularly historical about it. I like Regency fiction because of the elaborate balls and parties, but the characters spent most of the book at Lady Bea’s; there was the infamous Syllabub Dinner, but that was all. And the characters didn’t really care about decorum, Abby and Max were quite happy about kissing in the middle of the street, which I guess is a sign of their smouldering passion (which I never saw in the first place) but I would have been happier with period-appropriate reactions. Overall, it’s a chocolate muffin book. It’s not healthy but I can’t stop reading it. The Winter Bride came out a few days ago so I’m going to check that out, and then hopefully I’ll manage to restrain myself until the third book comes out next year.