Thursday, November 26, 2020

Jayne Fresina - Storm

He's nice. He's the eldest son of Victorian England's most notorious rogue, but Storm Deverell just wants to keep life simple. Unlike the other members of his wild tribe, he steers clear of scandal and leads an honest, hard-working existence on a Cornish farm.
Of course, it hasn't always been that way. In the days of youthful rebellion, that hot Deverell temper earned Storm a bad reputation. But now he keeps his anger tamed so well nobody would ever know it's still there. All things considered, Storm has everything he wants, whenever he wants it, in his uncomplicated world. And even if life is a little quiet sometimes, at least it's predictable.
Until a strange woman arrives to shatter his unchallenged bachelor tranquility.
Stubborn, proudly independent and apparently immune to his infamous charm, Katherine Kelly is a disruption, a sharp-tongued, haughty madam, and the last thing he needs moving in as his neighbor.
One touch of her smooth hands tells him she knows nothing about managing a farm. One glance at her rose-embroidered stockings warns him she'll cause a commotion.
Good thing he's not looking for trouble these days. She's naughty. Escaping a seedy, gas-lit world of deception and villainy with a spinet full of stolen banknotes and snuff boxes, Kate is seeking a new beginning and a better future for her son. She's come a long way to find sanctuary and fresh air, so that frustratingly calm, self-satisfied, straight-talking farmer in the next valley will not spoil it for her.
Clearly he's ruled the roost around here far too long, a local legend in his own mind. So what if Deverell believes a woman can't survive without a man? Surviving is something this single mother knows how to do. One touch of his rough hands tells her he's dangerous. One glance into his blue eyes warns her he'll be a distraction. Good thing she's not looking for trouble these days.
But these two headstrong, accidental neighbors will soon learn that trouble can find them without being sought. Because what's "nice" can also be naughty, and what's naughty.... is usually a Deverell.

Comment: I've decided to read the second installment in the Deverell series, after having read the first book back in January of 2018. I liked that story and the idea of having stories of the children of the protagonist made me curious, but it seems not enough looking at the fact it's close to three years, us being so close to the end of 2020. 

In this book we have the story of Storm, one of those children, and the quiet one. Storm prefers his life of routines and lacking complications. He leaves all the scandals for his father and his siblings but he is used to the fame his family has. That is why he feels like helping the woman who gets stuck in the river but once she hears of his name, he knows her opinion might change. However, as soon as he starts helping, he realizes she is not a lady eager to be rescued and acts as if it's a bother to need his help. It's true they butt heads but when he believes she is gone, he is actually quite shocked when he -and other fellow farmers - are outwitted by that same women out of a propriety they all knew would be for grabs soon. Now that the woman, Kate, and her son are there to stay, will Storm be able to not be curious about them..?

I had to re-read my own comment on the first book to remember a few things abut this series. I still knew the important things but yes, may things were already forgotten. I just knew the children of the protagonist from book #1 weren't all legitimate even though their father acknowledged them all. From that first book I remembered each sibling was different and that the following stories would feature them but, of course, I was hopeful we would see the main couple from that first book as well.

Storm is interesting on his own, he is the son of a scandalous man, who has behaved shockingly in society but despite having his father's care and respect, Storm still prefers to stay away from problems. He is a farmer near his father's castle, he keeps a simple life and he tries to not give others proof he is his father's son in temperament too. I liked his quite attitudes, his gentleness, his need to help and I think on his own this would have always been a good story. The romance with Kate could have been done better, but as a character, Storm is a very likable person.

Kate is a woman running from her past, and her will to carry on is her son and the promise of a life where he can be cherished and loved in a way her own childhood was not a good one. Her life of service took quite a turn when she got pregnant and then rejected so she did what she could at a time women had few ways to provide on their own. I liked who she was and I understand why she acted a bit aloof and reserved. What made her less appealing to me was how she goes from that to being in love with Storm in the end. I don't feel the author conveyed the progress of their relationship well enough and although the words where there, I just don't think the emotion was at the same pace. Things felt choppy, with decisions being made too quickly and misunderstandings so easily fixed it's a wonder why they existed in the first place.

For that, I don't think this wasn't a bad story, a bad book, but it could have been better for certain. I got the impression the author might have wanted to say a few things, to write specific scenes/situations and apart from the basics, the rest was not as necessary. So, for me, this story feels under developed, as if things were told, were shared but we didn't go that much past the surface. Apart from the character's personalities and some of their actions, from a certain moment on, things started to become less fascinating, less vibrant... some parts were a little boring to go through.

There were some drama scenes closer to the end but I'm afraid they failed to impress me or to make me change my mind about the book.

It's difficult to find every single aspect of a story works for us. We might like some details and not others but I have felt that the older I get, the less patience I have for weak plots or characters. I want to be convinced why I should like or empathize with those people and I want to be intrigued and dazzled by their story. This one wasn't too bad, no, but it wasn't dazzling either.

Grade: 6/10

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