Not Quite A Lady by Loretta Chase
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Having enjoyed every book by Ms. Chase I've read so far, I'm always a bit wary when I start reading a new (to me) release. I mean, I can't possibly love everything she writes, so I can't help thinking the book I'm about to read is going to be "the dreadful one", the one that doesn't live up to my expectations... Well, I'm happy to say that this isn't "the one" yet. Phew! :)
This is the 4th book in the Carsington Brothers series, and it's youngest brother Darius' turn to find his HEA.
Darius Carsington is the Earl of Hargate's youngest son, the intellectual one, always ruled by Logic and Reason. He's one of the most highly regarded members of the Philosophical Society and he's well known for: (1) studying animal behavior, especially breeding and mating behavior, and (2) devoting his leisure hours to emulating this behavior. Item One gives Darius respectability but no income. Item Two gives him a reputation - not necessarily a bad one among the ton, but an aggravating one in his father's eyes. So Lord Hargate decides to "tame" his rakish son and gives him an ultimatum: Darius must either (1) take charge of Beechwood, a neglected property, and make it produce income in one year, so he can support himself and stop bleeding his father's purse, or (2) marry an heiress, so he can support himself and stop bleeding his father's purse. Darius chooses the lesser of two evils: Beechwood. However, Fate has other plans for him and puts an heiress on his way...
Lady Charlotte Hayward, Darius' new neighbor the Marquess of Lithby's only daughter, is a puzzle Darius can't solve. She's titled, wealthy, beautiful and seemingly placid - the perfect wife for any gentleman. Yet, she's still single at the advanced age of seven and twenty and, even though she isn't obvious about it, she isn't interested in marriage and deflects all her suitors' attentions with easy politeness. What's behind her "strange" behavior? Logic, Darius' best friend and mentor, can't rest until he solves that puzzle. Naturally, it doesn't take long until Logic abandons Darius and gives way to Feelings - like Lust and Love. Unfortunately, that's when this book lost one star.
What can I say? As always, I loved Ms. Chase's humorous writing, Darius and Charlotte were likable, their witty banter and playful tricks made me laugh, and their loves scenes made me sigh. But why, oh why, did Ms. Chase decide to throw coincidence after coincidence halfway through the story? Not to mention that unbelievable plot twist near the end of the story. All of a sudden, Logic left not only Darius, but the plot altogether. I can't say more because I don't want to give any spoilers away, but that almost ruined the book for me. Luckily, I'm a sucker for a HEA, so I just reminded myself how much I had enjoyed the story up until that point and decided to let it go. Yes, I can buy (almost) anything in Romancelandia when the author does his/her job and makes me care for the H/h and root for their HEA. :)
All in all, this was a very fun read. I'm still a devoted fan of Ms. Chase and can't wait to read the next book in the series, the most awaited Last Night's Scandal.
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