Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Alissa Johnson - An Unexpected Gentleman

Adelaide Ward has but one goal-to obtain an offer of marriage from the respectable, if unappealing, Baron Maxwell. But it's the devilishly handsome Connor Brice who captures her imagination-and a kiss in broad daylight-in front of a dozen members of the ton. Now Adelaide must decide if the charming scoundrel who stole away her reputation might still be trusted with her heart. Because Brice is after more than Adelaide's affection: he wants revenge on the baron. 

Comment: This was the last book I picked in October and I chose it because it was the one I still had in the pile by this author. This is also the second in the Haverston family trilogy. All three books are connected loosely, meaning that the main plots of all aren't directly connected, so each book can be read out of order. I wasn't aware if this though, and I ended up reading the last story first, then the first and, finally this one. 
I must say I'm glad I did things out of order because now that I've read the three stories, my favorite is the third for certain.

In this second story the main protagonist is a man we met while the protagonist of the first story visited prisoners to help them with their mending clothes.
The heroine, Adelaide, is the sister of another prisoner, guilty of unpaid debts, and someone the hero would see often visiting the prison. However, the two are linked because the heroine's family is close to destitute and her only solution is to marry someone with money and that is what will likely happen between the heroine and the hero's unscrupulous step brother. But now that the hero is free again, he not only wants to get his revenge on what the step brother caused but he also wants to have Adelaide to himself...

I thought this book to be boring. I'm not usually a big fan of revenge plots and this was not the one that made me think differently. The romance wasn't that amazing either and all these elements together just didn't make for a very interesting read, overall.

The revenge plot is classic in some books and often happens so that we can understand why the character changes tactics and understands it's not about revenge, we should just learn to let go. The case here is more or less that and the hero Connor somehow does get to that opinion at some point but the path towards that isn't one I'd say is the more interesting to follow. I just didn't like hoe he behaved, even if his reasons were valid and even acknowledging he didn't do unfair or bad things to reach his goals. I just didn't like reading about his so called problems and the way he chose to act on how to solve them.

The heroine is one I liked many times, especially when she was acting as a sensible woman, knowing her limits and her strengths.
However, since this is also a romance, Adelaide also acts like an innocent young woman and that means rather silly and sometimes as if she had never seen a man before (namely when he is trying to seducing her, no matter how innocent, can she be that naive?) and that really got on my nerves, especially because she was basically taking care of her family at this point and it made her looks as if only one look would dismiss all her abilities, all her poise and behavior. I mean... disappointing.

The romance was also a little bit the game of cat and mouse and in this case, the mouse wasn't always unaware of what is happening but I still didn't find their relationship to be addictive to follow. Connor is obviously very reserved and it almost feels as if his decisions and actions aren't meant to be easily seen by others. He says he cares about Adelaide and I can appreciate how he helps Adelaide and tries to get her out of the toxic path of his step brother. But I can't say his feeling are well expressed or easily believable.
As for Adelaide, I liked her for the most part but her more "mary sue" behavior in certain situations made me want to tell her when was behaving like an immature person and, considering the premise, her change in personality at the times she behaved as the responsible person she is described as in the blurb ,felt a little unbalanced.

I think that, at the end of things, what felt weaker in this story was really the lack of balance between what this was supposed to be and what was actually happening in the page. Both protagonists had plenty of opportunity to behave differently and still obtain their wishes, especially after Connor proposes to Adelaide and she has that chance.
Regardless of this, the story was sweet, had cute moments, cute interactions and scenes but as a whole it wasn't as incredible as I would like.
Grade: 6/10

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