Comment: This is the third installment in the Carsington series by Loretta Chase, that I've been monthly reading, with the goal of finishing one book per month.
In this third story the focus is on Benedict Carsington, the oldest brother and the one who will inherit the earldom. Benedict was a curious and fun boy but with time and responsibilities, he has become a rather strict man, considered by many as perfect, thus being called that among the ton. He married but his wife died and he doesn't seem to be eager to repeat the experience, although he is aware he will have to at some point. He is very fond of his nephew Peregrine, whose parents don't give him much attention, and he is happy to help which explains why he is at the museum with a curious - but not overly talented in drawing - Peregrine as this story begins. That is where a girl addresses Peregrine and they seem to fail to agree on Peregrine's talents, and the noise catches the girl's mother attention and that is also how Benedict recognizes Bathsheba Wingate, a famous widow most families would not welcome. However, soon Benedict sees himself in the lady's company, in a fun adventure to rescue the children from danger...
If there is one thing I often imagine while I read this author's books is that she likely has a lot of fun coming up with some scenes and the shenanigans the characters o through. With some exceptions in the small number of books by her I've read so far, I can also say wat I admire the most in her characters is the fact they are al larger than life, able to do amazing things, adventurous but caring, more clever than they seem to at first and quick to fall in love with the right person. What's not to lie about them? Of course, all depends on the story...
This is another one of the titles I'll have good memories of having read it. As always, readers are prone to enjoy some books more than others but this one will be part of the ones that, although not the best for me, is quite close to be so. I liked the main characters and the way their relationship develops as they get to know one another better and I especially liked how Benedict's father ( a veritable matchmaker) says a few things at the end which certainly made me imagine all kinds of sweet scenes in my head on how these characters would be happy...
There are several romances "on the road" out there and this is one of them but between the author's style and the characters' apparent superficial descriptions which hide vulnerable but honorable personalities, I had a great time enjoying their journey as they went after the children and were falling in love at the same time, unlike other books where the travel is more a prop.Things here felt like they made sense and helped the reader have a better idea of who those people were. I should say there is also a certain flavor for fun and joy in this, which was welcomed but didn't diminish any seriousness from the most heartfelt and complicated issues they had to deal with, especially when it came to emotions and the expectations society had of who they were as individuals.
Benedict is a great hero, perhaps not as vibrant as Rupert (from book #2 in the series) but still someone I would like to know in real life, for instance. I felt his character was well fleshed out, like Rupert's, and a lot better than, say, Alistair (book #1), and I felt like it was easy to root for him and to wish he would find balance again in his life. The author did write things in a way that I was convinced he would be happy with Bathsheba.
Speaking of her, she is one of heroines who is judged by others without anyone really knowing her real self. I liked that she tried to have a honest life, that she worried about her daughter, that she felt the responsibilities she had were painful at times but she never gave up. I liked to see her softer side while falling for Benedict and her attempts to do the right thing for him but, of course, how much better they were together than apart.
The book was a positive one for me, perhaps not as strong as others because there were some moments where I struggled to imagine the way things happen would be the most likely or the most obvious. There were also some scenes which I wasn't to happy with how they were played out.
The end was sweet and romantic as expected, the epilogue cute but I confess I would like to see the family together celebrating the happiness of all the members, A few comments here and there on how they are doing doesn't seem like enough for me. Perhaps in the last book that might be more evident. Still, for romance readers, this has certainly to be a good bet.