Amelia Moore wants only one thing—to secure the future happiness of her younger sister, Clara. With
their stepfather’s looming death, the two sisters will soon be on their own—without family, a home, or a penny to their names. When an invitation arrives to join a house party at Lakeshire Park, Amelia grasps at the chance. If she can encourage a match between Clara and their host, Sir Ronald, then at least her sister will be taken care of.
Little does she know that another guest, the arrogant and overconfident Mr. Peter Wood, is after the same goal for his own sister. Amelia and Peter begin a rivalry that Amelia has no choice but to win. But competing against Peter—and eventually playing by his rules—makes Amelia vulnerable to losing the only thing she has left to claim: her heart.
Comment: Although it might not feel like it, it's already more than half way through the month of February. If our reality doesn't seem like the set of a sci-fi move, I don't know, but it's close.
So, for this month, the TBR Challenge theme is new-to-you-author and I could have picked any book easily but ended up setting my eyes on this historical, by an author I had never heard of, whose good opinions and quiet cover promised a peaceful read time well spent. I'm glad to say it was a good story for me, but not perfect.
In this book we meet sisters Amelia and Clara as they are leaving to a house party, invited by mr Ronald, a man who seemed to have become fond of Clara. In fact, this house party might prove to be their salvation for they have been living with their stepfather, someone who has no care or love for them and, as he realizes his end might be near, tells them they can go but they won't need to return. Thus, the two sisters go and hope for the best, namely a possible offer by mr Ronald, otherwise they will be destitute. Things were hopeful until they notice the other guests of the party, in particular the Wood siblings and Amelia recognizes the brother as the man who was rude to her at a shop. To make things even more awkward, his sister Georgiana seems to have set her cap on mr Ronald as well... will this even end well at all?
This was definitely a good and entertaining story and I was glad to spend time with these characters. This is a so-called clean romance, but there was plenty of emotion expressed in the pages, especially towards the end. However, to be honest, it's precisely around the final part of the novel I felt things were a little weaker.
Amelia and Clara are facing a very dire situation. Due to the situation of their parents' past and the fact their mother loved someone else and was forced to marry because of an indiscretion, the family has always been followed by scandal. When their mother finally married the man she loved, the two girls were not well treated and they both faced the impact of how the past affected those who should love them. Now they are left in a difficult situation and if mr Ronald does not offer for Clara, it might be necessary for one of them to marry practically or they will have no options.
When they join the group for the house party they had already stopped at a shop so Amelia could buy gloves and that is how she meets mr Peter Wood, a man who doesn't leave her with a good impression. Of course they will meet again at the party and as they both plot to give their respective sisters a better light for mr Ronald, they end up sharing many moments together and, obviously, fall in love in the process. This part of the story is cute but also has several emotional scenes and inner monologue and even knowing a HEA would certainly happen for Amelia and Peter, it was still heartfelt to go through their emotions as they dealt with what was happening between them.
The romance is quite predictable, and all the scenes they share are evident in how they could only be seen as becoming a couple. Of course, this being an historical, all is discreet and softened, but it does seem odd how the others at the house party wouldn't add the clues immediately. They were a sweet couple, they shared enough scenes for me to be convinced they could make it work.
Amelia is described as practical young woman and she has the heartbreak of her losses to back up her will to not give in to sentimentality. I think the author used a balanced amount of angst and sass on her, otherwise things might too look too negative. Peter is a character who reminded me of a playful alpha, in the sense he had the arrogance but the joy in small things. It was rather obvious he was starting to feel something stronger for Amelia but this being told in first person limited this view a little. I tend to not appreciate forst person in romances but in this case, the goal here was to highlight the romance and the beauty of the way they fell in love and not the relationship or its details.
I was really feeling this and rooting for the girls to find happiness with their intended and it did seem as if things would run smoothly until the end. Of course, the author had to insert some drama/conflict because the plot is really all about the sisters' future but some of her choices were not used as effortlessly and it felt things were being dragged on purpose. When the end comes, there are some engrossing situations happening and some scenes were emotional enough but then the HEA drags too, it's not a proper epilogue, but a delay on the final scene and although this isn't too bad, left me with a unsatisfying feel for I expected something better.
I think the idea of this story was well thought and I especially liked how the characters approached their need to solve their situation but knowing this would end well didn't ruin the experience anyway. I think any fan of historicals would find this a sweet, albeit predictable story, and charming moments to make one happy. I think some plot choices could have been used better too, but overall, this was a very pleasant read.