by Candice Hern
Amazon Kindle Edition
Rating: * * * * *
In Brief: Widower Miles needs a mother for his children, but has no interest in looking for love again, believing he can never feel for anyone what he felt for his wife. Besides, he’s far too proper and starched for that sort of thing. When his sister brings a widow and her younger sister to the estate for a visit, he knows a setup is in the works. Hannah has her head in the clouds, but not for romance — she’s far too focused on her study of architecture. And since her older sister is the intended match anyway, nobody could really have suspected what would happen….
I thought: I absolutely loved this book. I decided I wanted to read another of Ms. Hern’s stories, so I went with this and am so glad I did. The characters are absolutely adorable and frequently hilarious, and the hero and heroine stay true to themselves throughout the book.
Having now read two tales from Candice Hern, I suspect that I will find similar attention to detail in all of her writing. There’s a scene near the beginning of the book, for example, where Miles is eating breakfast, complete with a wonderful description of cracking open a soft-boiled egg. It’s abundantly clear that the author knows a whole lot about the Regency period, but it’s a bit more subtly displayed in this than in A Proper Companion. She manages to perfectly evoke a real sense of time and place.
Hannah is simply wonderful; enthusiastic, imperfect, and mostly ok with that but still with a little insecurity that keeps her from being boilerplate. Miles is a bit reserved, but he opens up over the course of the story and it’s obvious that he and Hannah complement one another quite well.
The side characters, too, are reasonably well-drawn, and there are plenty of interactions with them that display the dynamics of the various relationships. I found myself hoping throughout that Charlotte, the older sister, would not turn out to be just a horrible shrew, and I was not at all disappointed.
There was a particular scene where our heroine was in peril, and the series of events that occurred afterwards was quite hilarious. It could have seemed contrived, but where the same sort of thing seemed a bit gimmicky in A Proper Companion, here it felt perfect.
I once again appreciated the relatively tame love scenes. Ms. Hern here proves that you don’t have to be explicit to convey passion, and that falling into bed together is not a necessary prerequisite for a great relationship.
I tore through this in a single evening; it’s fast-paced and full of warmth and laughter. I didn’t find any distracting typos or text scanning errors, happily. I didn’t realize it was the second book in a duo (the first is A Garden Folly), and will certainly go back and read the first — though I think it will be a little odd to see the beginning of Miles, knowing the end!