Thursday, March 5, 2015

Tamara Allen - The Only Gold

Jonah Woolner’s life is as prudently regulated as the bank where he works. It’s a satisfying life until he’s passed over for promotion in favor of newcomer Reid Hylliard. Brash and enterprising, Reid beguiles everyone except Jonah, who’s convinced Reid’s progressive ideas will be the bank’s ruin. When Jonah begins to discover there’s more to Reid than meets the eye, he risks succumbing to Reid’s charms—but unlocking the vault to all of Reid’s secrets could lead him down a dangerous path.
Losing his promotion—and perhaps his heart—is the least of Jonah’s difficulties. When the vengeful son of a Union army vet descends upon the bank to steal a government deposit of half a million dollars during the deadliest blizzard to ever sweep New York, Jonah and Reid are trapped, at odds and fighting for their lives.
 


Comment: I got this time months ago because someone somewhere has said it was very good. The blurb seemed inviting enough so I took a chance on it and added it to my TBR. This month I thought about it and there it went to the monthly list.

This is the story of Jonah Woolner, a bank clerk who thinks he will get a promotion soon but the bank's owner decided to give the promotion to a newcomer. While his co workers seem to like Reid just fine, Jonah isn't convinced he is there to ruin the bank, so he tries to keep Reid away.
However, Reid is persistent and slowly he goes after Jonah until it's obvious there's something between them not contempt. Everything seems well enough until the day the bank is in danger and Jonah must face his biggest dilemma, does he care more about the bank or Reid?

This story has many ingredients to make it addictive to read, namely the slow pace that leads the reader through an original story that combines fiction and reality in a very particular but detailed way.
The story is based on the New York blizzard of 1888, which did happen, and the author created a detailed story about banks and the way of life in those days. These are the elements in the story we can recognize come from serious investigation and research and were very well used to give some semblance of reality and formal ideas to the book.

Of course, the story itself is fictional and has characters the author imagined, but I think her work in mixing the two things, the fiction and the real history, was done very well.
The writing is serious too, to the point, and always in a way that screams thoughtfulness and perfection, meaning the author took care about how things are said, portrayed and I have to say I liked her "voice" quite well too.

My biggest issue with the novel was the pace. While in some parts it was actually good to see things happen slowly - it did help with the plot's development - I also confess I was a little bit bored here and there when things seemed to take a bit too long to happen. I think this was on purpose to better explain to the reader how everything took time, how long Jonah fought to be away, to be cool under pressure and that's good, but often the narrative would slow down so much I would lose focus until something else happened.
Is the book's length that bothered me? Not really, no, but some parts were definitely more boring to go though.

One of the key elements in the story is, of course, the relationship between Jonah and Reid. They start of with the wrong foot but Reid is persistent and until they kissed the clues about it weren't as obvious as that. I think the way they dealt with their growing feelings was believable for the time. Jonah is fascinating, he does try to be away, to be cool and think the worst of Reid but apparently he couldn't fight his feelings and that certainly is romantic.
There's challenges in front of them and honestly I didn't know what was to come so the real mystery of the book was a real surprise and thankfully the author did it well.

The secondary characters were well depicted. Some I liked better than others but they did add flavor to the book.
The plot was simple but as it took so long to happen, sometimes I would lose focus and wonder why certain things were there in the first place. Still, it had a goal from beginning to end and that helped.

All in all, a good story, good elements, too bad the slow pace that at times seemed too much.
Despite this, I do plan on reading more by the author.
Grade: 7/10

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Samantha Young - Before Jamaica Lane

Despite her outgoing demeanor, Olivia is painfully insecure around the opposite sex—usually, she can’t get up the nerve to approach guys she’s interested in. But moving to Edinburgh has given her a new start, and, after she develops a crush on a sexy postgrad, she decides it’s time to push past her fears and go after what she wants.
Nate Sawyer is a gorgeous player who never commits, but to his close friends, he’s as loyal as they come. So when Olivia turns to him with her relationship woes, he offers to instruct her in the art of flirting and to help her become more sexually confident.
The friendly education in seduction soon grows into an intense and hot romance. But then Nate’s past and commitment issues rear their ugly heads, and Olivia is left broken-hearted. When Nate realizes he’s made the biggest mistake of his life, he will have to work harder than he ever has before to entice his best friend into falling back in love with him—or he may lose her forever…
 


Comment: This is the third book in the series by this author that started with On Dublin Street. I had heard some not so good opinions about these books before picking up the first one, but honestly, so far I've been dazzled and it just serves to prove, we all see things differently and how great is that!

This is the story of Olivia, she's Jo's cousin who first appeared on the previous book. Olivia has a dream job in my opinion, she works at a library, and she has a crush on a guy that goes there to do research, but she can't seem to be able to talk to him normally because she isn't very experienced with relationships.
In comes Nate, he's a friend in common among the group we know so far and he and Olivia are attracted to each other from the start, but they are friends and always ignored their hotter thoughts. But Olivia confesses her lack of experience with men after a drunk night and Nate is there and Olivia asks his help, considering he's so successful with women. So, the lessons begin but can they admit it that what they want for real is what they already have?

I'm really loving this series!
Really, somehow, everything that goes on with these books just seems to hit the perfect note to me and I cherish and welcome the books always with anticipation and will.
The books have a certain simplicity that calls to me and the characters, despite their not so realistic behavior, seem genuine and perfectly flawed in a way they makes them worth of redemption but not in a condescending or forgiving way, their issues are serious but their actions aren't always too hard to forgive or to deal with. I like how the author gives them a simple, domestic value and turns them into types of people I would like to know in real life.

Another good things about this book, and the whole series as a matter of fact, is how the sense of family and friendship and relationship among lovers, parents, brothers, friends is highly detailed and made important. There's a clear focus on the little things, family dinners, sharing with your friends, that make the series one of those you can enjoy for all the details and secondary things even if the romance itself isn't the most amazing ever. Although, for me, the romances are quite good.

This story has all the said things before which makes it wonderful in my opinion.
Of course there are some things I'd change or wished were different, namely the way Nate and Olivia have their troubles. I understand why and it does suit the plot, but for two close friends they surely missed the communication at a certain point. I could day in real life we don't always do and say the right things or we react in the heat of the moment with less thought than we'd like but considering all that happens here, how they both know each other so well...it's just for plot purposes, but the problem isn't that convincing for me.

Nate and Olivia have been close friends since they met. I think we get enough scenes where this is proved. I think Olivia's request that Nate teach her how to seduce guys or be more appealing for them was a bit too much, but they are attracted to each other so...but it's still weird. Despite this, The way things go on kind of mutes that and it's something I could think of but not be displeased about.
In fact their romance worked out for me and I loved to see them together.

As I said, many secondary characters, known well or not, have a huge part in these books and it's wonderful to see them be an important part of the stories, even after their stories are told. Can't wait for the next book to see them all again.
This book ends up being sweet, cute, romantic and perfect to be liked. I do recommend this contemporary series, even if others might not see the good things in it like I do.
Grade: 8/10

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Deborah Cooke - The Dragon Legion collection

When the Dragon Legion take custody of the darkfire crystal, Drake and his fellow dragon shifters fear that the sorcery trapped in the stone is bent on destroying them. In Kiss of Danger, Alexander defends his wife and son from a vicious killer who has followed him through time. In Kiss of Darkness, Damien enters the realm of the dead to fix an old mistake, but loses his shifting abilities. In Kiss of Destiny, Thad believes he can secure the future of all the dragon shifters known as the Pyr, if only he can win the heart of the elusive woman who sparks his firestorm. Will the darkfire demand all they have to give, or is the unpredictable magic giving these dragon warriors a second chance?
This edition includes all three Dragon Legion novellas (Kiss of Danger, Kiss of Darkness and Kiss of Destiny), as well as an excerpt from Serpent's Kiss (the next Dragonfire novel), a cast of continuing characters and Dragonfire glossary.


Comment: I've had this book since last year, before Thorolf's story was self published, a new path for this author's writing.
This collection is actually three novellas with the explanation of what happened to the Dragon's Legion Warriors we've met in past books but that never got a satisfying end. With this collection we get to see what happened and there's also a sort of conduit between what we see on the regular full length books and the explanations from what happened to what will happen.

Just to explain the novellas plots, this is how things came up to be:
During the books, a group of dragon warriors showed up to pledge their honor to Erik, the leader of the Pyr. We discover they were warriors from ancient times that went though a curse after they were captured by a strong, magical dragon and were only released after his death and centuries of waiting when one of the Pyr recognized their prison as Dragon Warrior's Tooth and set them free.
Then some thing happens and the dragons disappear after the release of the darkfire, a magical element heavily featured on the books' plot line.

So, these novellas serve to explain why the Tooth's dragons are important and why what happened to them has any importance and influence on what is to come on the original series's time line.
I can't say they really matter in terms of individual stories but they do explain the action and the author's choice for the warriors disappearance in the original events. It also justifies the novellas' plot and why it kind of suits the original story's development.

I'll come out right now and say I didn't like the novellas that much. Their worth was more about the details and the elements that matter for the original story that started with the first book, rather than self worth. You see, the novellas are all set on the past, Grecian times, and despite offering a good explanation for things to come, on their own, the romances felt pretty stiff and forced and not very appealing to me. Plus, two of them have the regretful lovers reunited plot, which I hate, and the other not only has insta-love but also a heroine I didn't care about. All in all, nothing much to grab my attention or my enjoyment.

I understand why the author did things this way, and this edition also has a note about the books from the author explaining, which I recognize helps readers understanding things.
But the collection is all about the novellas and as a whole, I wasn't wowed by none.

Kiss of Danger is Alexander and Katina's story. He left her after their son was born because duty called but he didn't know how long he would be gone. Now he's back, time has passed which he didn't know either and now it's time to mend things with her. Of course she never forgot him but life had to move on so she made choices which now put them apart. But a slayer shows up and changes things again. I wasn't much into this story, didn't like their time talking about what was it like for them before and the solution for their story was practical but not that special for me.

Kiss of Darkness is Damien and Petra's story set in the Underworld where Damien's actions will have an impact on future happenings. The romance didn't win me over and this was the most boring of the novellas for me because I was never convinced of their love for each other, no matter how many times they say I love you at the end.

Kiss of Destiny is Thad and Aura's story, with a insta-love/destinate mate trope. Aura is a nymph that has seen what men did to nymphs helpless to avoid them or the consequences of being with them, but since she's a nymph she likes sex a lot even though she isn't promiscuous and the thing she really doesn't want is a child. Thad knows there will be a son after they have sex, because that's how Pyr progeny happens. But he wants love and a ate forever too so the major conflict comes from these two takes on the same subject. I didn't like Aura's personality and behavior and such a short time didn't help, but overall, I had a hard time liking this.

Overall, all three stories were very lacking in development. I accept the idea of how the tropes used are better suited for novellas and short stories but despite being inserted in a well shaped series, I still didn't enjoy them not only because of my personal dislike for them but the content wasn't that special either. I think these stories work as a step to better understand some plot issues, but all things considered I don't think that missing them is such a crime...
Grade: 5/10

Monday, March 2, 2015

Julia Quinn - The Secrets of Sir Richard Kenworthy

Sir Richard Kenworthy has less than a month to find a bride. He knows he can't be too picky, but when he sees Iris Smythe-Smith hiding behind her cello at her family's infamous musicale, he thinks he might have struck gold. She's the type of girl you don't notice until the second—or third—look, but there's something about her, something simmering under the surface, and he knows she's the one.
Iris Smythe–Smith is used to being underestimated. With her pale hair and quiet, sly wit she tends to blend into the background, and she likes it that way. So when Richard Kenworthy demands an introduction, she is suspicious. He flirts, he charms, he gives every impression of a man falling in love, but she can't quite believe it's all true. When his proposal of marriage turns into a compromising position that forces the issue, she can't help thinking that he's hiding something . . . even as her heart tells her to say yes.
 


Comment: Since I'm a fan of the author and have been enjoying the books in this Smythe-Smith quartet, it was no wonder I was so happy that this book finally arrived and I could read it. This is the last of the series but I'm very curious to see what comes next from the author.

This is Iris' story. Of all the Smythe-Smith music players that famously appear on the author's books, Iris is one of the few that actually knows how to play and is fully aware of the tragedy that each musicale really is. Iris is also used to not be the most sought after woman because she is pale and fair and others don't notice her that much. She doesn't really mind so when a man she doesn't know stares at her on the latest musicale she isn't prepared to react when he is introduced to her.
Richard Kenworthy need a wife as quickly as possible. He has a secret problem and only a wife can help him solve it. He didn't count on Iris being more than she looked like and more than someone to be with him through life, she ends up being someone he falls in love with, someone he respects and trusts and deceiving her isn't as easy as he first desperately thought...

With this book, the latest quartet series by ms Quinn comes to an end. The series, so far, have fallen into a certain pattern of average plots and characters. I can't say this is amazing and recently many readers have said her work has lost some of its truest appeal which was the specific connection between characters and voice, something that seemed perfect in some of her best loved stories on the Bridgerton series. In this new series, plots seemed to be weaker and more simplistic, which, although not a bad thing on its own, surely contributed to the general opinion that ms Quinn lost that special thing about her writing.

Now, I wonder, is this a sign her work has become predictable and not as good? Honestly, I can understand if some readers think so, but personally I still see the enjoyment and allure of her books. Her work might not be the most serious out there but it doe offer a reasonable amount of drama/angst that stops it from being silly or pointless. There's still an aura of aim, of a goal to achieve, of interest to be savored. Yes, there seems to be lacking some intensity but I can't say I didn't enjoy reading.
I'm saying these things to make it clear that, while I see why so many others start to loose faith in her stories, I can still like them, still see the appeal and still be interested, despite the unwitting comparison to her better things.

A for the plot of this book, it certainly offers a weird dilemma. I think Richard's secret is serious and I totally get his fear and desire to solve things. He is a wonderful man who only wants the best those he cares about. I can even accept the idea that desperate thought call for desperate (and silly) solutions in the heat of the moment, but when we get to know the reason for all the plot's secrets, everything seems overly dramatic and easily solved.
Of course one has to bear in mind the fact this is an historical and even for authors not so serious about their historical approaches as ms Quinn, some things are easier to work with in an historical setting rather than a contemporary. Nevertheless, in the end I think the solution was so simple, was so obvious and true communication was the key to solve it. Then, we wouldn't have a funny and interesting plot to present, but still.

I think Richard and Iris are interesting characters. Neither has a so called alpha personality and that was good to see, Richard is a man who has the family's control but he isn't all powerful and all mastering and it was different to see him act without being a alpha type while having serious things to deal with.
Iris isn't pushy, an in-your-face character but neither is she a shy TSTL creature. I think if there was one thing that really worked out well was the slow development of their relationship based on their characters. If one thinks about this as a possible reality, then many elements are troublesome but in terms of romance, it was funny and cute how things progressed between them. I liked that part a lot.

The plot reaches a solution at last and everyone got a deserved HEA. Throughout the book, many scenes and details were interestingly inserted by the author but yes, some flaws are obvious.
Despite everything I had fun reading and I confess I was eager to keep read when I had to stop. I think that, even if a book isn't perfect, if it works for us at that time, if we do feel like reading and not stop, then it has to be a success, no matter what others think, right?
Oh and isn't the UK cover gorgeous?
Grade: 7/10

Friday, February 27, 2015

Song # 24

I love this song. It's so wonderful...I listen to it over and over when I can...
Enjoy.


Patrice Michelle - Scions: Insurrection

When Detective Kaitlyn McKinney responds to a call about a strange, burned body, she discovers something far more complicated--and dangerous.Landon Rourke is a werewolf, exiled from his pack and dedicated to keeping a protective watch over Kaitlyn.
A prophecy has said that his kind and vampires would one day come to a truce. But that day has yet to come.
Landon has his own past to deal with, too, involving Kaitie herself. A dark truth that has kept them apart for years. When Kaitlyn gets caught up in the battle between vampires and werewolves, the long-simmering attraction she shares with Landon ignites. And in that attraction they find the secret that will bring them together...


Comment: This is the second book in the Scions series by author Patrice Michelle. As it happened with the previous story, I've had it for a long time and in continuing my attempt to give chances to long lived TBR titles here it is another book from that pile. As soon as I finish the books I've got in the series, the better. It will be mission accomplished.

This new story is about Landon, a werewolf. He's friends with vampire Jachin from the first book and despite not being alpha he should be. But he lives in guilt and despair of old happenings.
Kaitlyn is a young woman, a dedicated cop with a dying mother. She wants to do her work and when she sees strange marks on the floor after a fire she doesn't know what to think. Landon helps her and she can't hide the fact she's had a crush on him for a while.
But Kaitlyn isn't any random woman, in fact her past comes to meet the present of a man who needs to let go...

Well, once again I can't say this was perfect. I find it more and more difficult to fully appreciate a book for what it's worth based on how my tastes run these days, compared to what they were when I got this story. 
There was a time when I would look for any paranormal I could find that met the criteria of shape shifters and romance. These days I've kind of filtered a lot and this book seems dated compared to what I look for now. It's not the elements themselves that aren't up to it now, it's just that now I need the way the story is told to work in a certain way, to have a certain structure. It's really hard to find things you can't really explain why they work on some cases and not on others.

I think the place where I'm at right now in terms of reading allows for a wide range of genres and types of stories but I always look for structure and a fascinating well developed plot. In this book's case, all the things that were supposed to make it amazing seemed too clichéd and not seductive enough.
I wish the author would have dedicated more time to develop the idea of pack, of a social structure for them. I can't help but think of successful worlds whose authors created wonders when I read paranormal worlds alike or based on the same idea. If Nalini Singh and Anne Bishop created such wonderfully detailed and rich and seductive paranormal worlds, why can't all authors? I know it's not fair, but I always, always, look for the magic to repeat itself...

Then the clichés used are repetitive and the writing, although good, wasn't done in a way to make things seem like they only could work that way. There's no special "something" to twist what we've seen so often. Nevertheless, the story flows and if there's one thing I thought was really good was how all the police issues investigated (and plot related) were solved way before the book ended so the final part, so to speak, was more about the pack and the lives of the main couple.

The main couple...apart from the usual clichés expected, the mate recognition and the destiny having done it all, the insta-attraction if not love, the "I-need-to-let-you-go-because-it's-better-this-way" thing, along with others, well putting all this aside, I think they were suitable for each other, but I never felt they actually thought about it, except the fact they are destined and attracted. Their interactions never convinced me they were a great couple on their own - if we were to remove all the things that made them be together. I think there's some lacking of a building relationship, which should be there instead of the "just because".

In the end, I had some fun with the book, but no, it didn't wow me, it didn't surprised me or made me desperate to know more about this world or those who live there.
I plan to finish the books I have because I like to know I got closure on the task of reading them after having the for so long.
This wasn't amazing but truth to be told, it was average good and entertaining enough.
Grade: 6/10

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

KJ Charles - The Magpie Lord

Exiled to China for twenty years, Lucien Vaudrey never planned to return to England. But with the mysterious deaths of his father and brother, it seems the new Lord Crane has inherited an earldom. He’s also inherited his family’s enemies. He needs magical assistance, fast. He doesn't expect it to turn up angry.
Magician Stephen Day has good reason to hate Crane’s family. Unfortunately, it’s his job to deal with supernatural threats. Besides, the earl is unlike any aristocrat he’s ever met, with the tattoos, the attitude... and the way Crane seems determined to get him into bed. That’s definitely unusual.
Soon Stephen is falling hard for the worst possible man, at the worst possible time. But Crane’s dangerous appeal isn't the only thing rendering Stephen powerless. Evil pervades the house, a web of plots is closing round Crane, and if Stephen can’t find a way through it—they’re both going to die. 


Comment: This is my second m/m read of the month. I've tried the author before and I liked the story a lot, so I've wanted to read more to see if it had been a timely chance or the possibility of a new author to look for.

This is a Victorian fantasy, like the author said herself. Lord Crane returns from China where he's been exiled for a long time, but his return hasn't been as easy as he thought. After the death of his male relatives, the earldom is his inheritance but he can't seem to go past the problems and moods. His friend and worker calls for a magician, who happens to hate the Crane family but made a vow to help those in need so he meets and saves the new lord Crane from a sort of curse.
However, the problems don't go away as supposed and the magician Stephen Day sticks around to discover why. In the mean time lord Crane goes from employer to something more very quickly...

I liked this story. I think it had originality and a good development from the expected which made it fresh and interesting to know more about.
The story has a lot of fantasy elements, not just the use of magic itself, but the support of the magpie legend and the blood and feelings connection that empower magic too. I think the author used these things in a well countable way because each detail in the story didn't feel like an overload of elements which could annoy or make the story heavy. In fact, I think many things were shown without a clear explanation on the moment, things were said after and that did add some confusion - my opinion - to the plot but I think this is due to the author's style and not a plot problem.

The characters were intriguing. We didn't come close to find out all about them, we have glimpses of their pasts, we got a sort of summary of their lives but there is still plenty of information to be gained, which I assume will happen in the following books. Quite clever the author that by giving enough to sustain this story wasn't desperate to give it all away to hook the reader. I have to say the way things are presented, slowly and in pace with the development, was a very good tactic to keep the tone of the story without making it too full.

Lucien, lord Crane is a fascinating character. The things we know about him aren't enough to make a complete image of how his personality is, but we do get the idea of his honor and decency despite what was done to him, the exile and so on. He gained a fortified shield from his experience but he didn't close off everything, he still cares about those he loves and he still tries to do the right thing. I'm curious to know more about him.
Stephen Day is even more intriguing. He's a magician, he belongs to a group that takes their job seriously and he, like his peers, tries to fight the evil of warlords even in danger to his own person. We know he's very confident in his work, noble and dedicated, but has some shyness when it comes to his feelings, his own personal decisions. It was funny to see him interact with Crane on that level and their relationship got more and more deep. Again, I'm curious to know more and see them together.

This story is well constructed I think. I still think some passages weren't as successful and being a first book without full disclosure on all aspects, sometimes I felt a bit lost, despite the story not being that long. I think the fact this is the beginning of a series will explain the pace and scenes' working. The presence of magpies was interesting, usually other animals are preferred for this type of stories, so it was different to see them have a role here.

I'm happy enough to keep reading. I'll read the following stories soon and I'm very curious about them. This is a recommendable story for historic and fantasy m/m readers.
Grade: 8/10

Monday, February 23, 2015

Catherine Bybee - Married by Monday

Carter Billings:
Sandy blond hair and Hollywood good looks, Carter Billings could have any woman he wants. However, when he makes his bid for the Governor's seat in the state of California, he needs to settle down and become a family man. Eliza, the woman he secretly adores, embodies the perfect amount of spice and passion to suit his marital needs, but she's not interested in becoming Mrs. Billings. She can't even stand to be in the same room with him.
Eliza Havens:
It's much easier to drive Carter away than to give into desire. Matching couples is how she earns a living, but getting married isn't an option. The secrets she carries are too dangerous to entangle anyone else. When her hidden identity and past threaten her future, she's left with little choice. Carter is quick to offer solutions to both their problems, but saying yes could mean endangering the man she's growing to love.
 


Comment: This is the second story on the Weekday Brides series by the author. I've read the first book months ago and it was a story good enough to keep me interested in the sequel, so here are my comments about it.

This is Eliza Havens story, she's Samantha's business partner from book #1. Eliza is a very reserved person because she has a secret. She thinks her life is god enough but after meeting Samantha's new husband's best friend Carter Billings, her life isn't the same. If they had their arguments was only to hide a mutual attraction and now that Carter's career is at risk, Eliza takes a chance on living without fear or restrictions...
Carter has liked Eliza from the start but didn't realize how much until he realized she's the only one he sees himself getting married to...

I think this story is sweet and easy enough to be quickly read, it's not overly dramatic nor full of silly characters that we wish could go away.
However, this story keeps having a little issue which didn't seem to matter as much on the first book but which I now realize might be part of the author's writing style. I'm talking about the way the story is often told and now showed. It didn't seem to matter much but then if one thinks about it it's rather obvious. At least for me, as soon I had that thought, I couldn't not think it again and it seemed so present. 
The thing is, Carter and Eliza have been attracted to each other and we don't see that, we didn't have many scenes where this was shown, not in this book which already starts with the premise they do, and not on the first book where they were secondary characters and even if we were told they were attracted, we didn't really see it that much.
This wouldn't have to be a problem, had it happened differently, but as it is, it feels like we are told they have the hots for each other which is very convenient so from this book on they can start to work on it.

My issue is, I don't feel enough time was spent on preparing them to be a couple. I also know the idea behind this is the quick decision to marry propelled by an outside need, but I still wish we could see more of them before they make that decision. Sure after the marriage the situation would be different, but before that, something more to cement their views of each other would have been nice.

The plot offers quite the different issues to be dealt with. 
Carter has his intended government career and what that entails, the kind of money one needs to have before starting something like that. In a superficial kind of way it was interesting. Also interesting were the themes on his background, social differences, money matters, love matters more, and so on.
Eliza had a different background and issues to present. She has a secret which I won't tell but that is told quickly during the story, which controls her life in a way she can't ignore, only work around it. I think that this also presented interesting ideas of how people in real life with the same life experience she is portrayed having here can exist and how they might manage.

The romance, as soon as they get married becomes what one would expect and sincerely, nothing amazing happens on that front, they do get their HEA but for me they're personalities never really were highlighted as I imagined.
The secondary characters had a pertaining role and, most likely, we have the beginning of the set up for the next story. I will read it and see if the author's style is a trademark or a "spur of the book".
Grade: 7/10