Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Elizabeth Camden - The Rose of Winslow Street

The last thing Libby Sawyer and her father expected upon their return from their summer home was to
find strangers inhabiting a house that had been in their family for decades. Widower Michael Dobrescu brought his family from Romania to the town of Colden, Massachusetts with a singular purpose: to claim the house willed to him long ago. Since neither party has any intention of giving up their claim, a fierce legal battle ensues between the two families.
When important documents go missing from the house, Libby suspects Michael is the culprit. Determined to discover the truth behind the stolen papers, Libby investigates, only to find more layers of mystery surrounding Michael and his family. Despite their rivalry, Libby finds herself developing feelings for this man with the mysterious past.
As a decision about the house looms in the courts, Libby must weigh the risks of choosing to remain loyal to her family or give her heart to a man whose intentions and affections are less than certain.

Comment: Another standalone book by author Elizabeth Camden. She writes "clean" historical romances and there is always something unique about her plots. 

When this story begins Michael Dobrescu and his family are just arriving at he hose left for them in the will of the previous owner. However, the house is already occupied by professor and his daughter Libby who has lived there her whole life. It just happens that the day the Dobrescus arrive, the professor and his daughter are at the house of Libby's brother Jasper. When they are informed someone is ow living in their house, the two depart to solve the problem but Michael dos have proof of his ownership of the house. While the legalities are being investigated, Libby is allowed to enter the house and collect personal items and that is how she slowly gets to know this family,especially the two children, sons of Michael. With time, she realizes Michael is a good person and he has good reason to have come to America and take possession of the house. But how will she cope with her new feelings for a man who should be the enemy and her duty to a father who, although not loving towards her, has raised her? 

It seems this author picks unconventional ideas and develops them into fascinating plots. I have now read three books by her, counting this one, and I have liked the ideas of them all, even though the romances of the others weren't the most captivating. In this case I should say all elements worked well for me, and even the things I'd change didn't stop me from enjoying this novel.

I really liked the idea of this one, not only the legal intricacies of the house affair, which carried the plot onward, but the fact there was a lot of talk about flowers and scents and ho some combinations are better than others when it comes to perfumes or lotions. Michael has a nose to work in this field and I was very interested in the little details the author chose to give him knowledge in this work. I think it was quite obvious the author dis a good research and included what was necessary but I think it worked very well to give the story strength and something to focus on.

Michael Dobrescu is a fascinating hero. He seems brash and unfair at first but as the story moved on, I started to like him more and more even if his tactics weren't what we would now call "legal". I really liked how honorable and loving he was, especially towards those he cared about and when he get close to the end of the book and learn the reasons why he traveled to America with his family, I was already sold on his character.

Of course, this being an historical I wrinkled my nose at some scenes he shared with the heroine and when their feelings become obvious for the two of them, he decides to declare himself and despite how sweet that was, he still assumed some things because she was a woman. If there's one thing that I struggle with in historicals featuring some romance is the  - understandable - realism of how women were seen and treated. Oh well, nothing is ever perfect.

Libby is a very determined heroine. She is far from perfect, in fact the author "gave" her some flaws which seem so unfair for someone who is presented as calm and likable but I think this allowed her to be even more aware of the things she knew she was good at and how she could improve. If there's one big problem for me in this novel is how Libby's flaw is accepted as part of her identity and that's fine but with a very clever father and brother, and a hero who cares and loves her and supports her need to learn I think it could have been a little more obvious why she struggled with her "flaw". Not finding a magical solution, no, but to help her instead of just accepting it as a trait. 

This is Christian fiction so Belief and Faith play a part although for me not to the point I felt it was preachy or perhaps I could not focus on that detail. But here, I think things could have been done a little better.

Despite that and the fact that I wish the end had longer scenes or more detailed explanations for some issues, I had a great time reading this book. I think the plot had very good scenes for the most part,there was a sweet romance, a hero who reminded me of a big puppy who plays with you but who also defends you if you need and a heroine who wasn't afraid to show her vulnerable side. At this time, I can only focus on the majority of positive aspects so, a good grad it is.

Grade: 9/10

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