I rely heavily on blurbs on the back of books to get me hooked on a story. This is an author that I have been told by many I should try because I would probably like her books and I do have several of her older books on my TBR shelf. So with those recommendations and from the blurb on the back of the book I decided I should give this book a try. The premise was intriguing so I figured, why not.
When I start reading a book, I can usually figure out whether or not I’m going to like it by the end of the first chapter, but even if it’s not totally captured my attention after the first chapter then I will try to read a bit more. After the first chapter, I almost gave up. I tend to like my stories with more dialogue or at least a good balance of dialogue to go along with the plotting and the inner thoughts of the characters.
This story, in the beginning, to me spent to much time in the characters minds (especially the heroine‘s). I like knowing what the characters are thinking, but I want them to interact with the other characters as well and in this first chapter, I didn’t get this. But I thought I’m going to give it a bit more. I was intrigued by a couple of the characters and I didn’t want to give up on them too quickly.
The first character that caught my attention was the heroine’s grandmother, Granny Donny. When we first meet her, she is in a carriage, dressed in clothing like a duchess would have worn in the early 1800s. Suffering from what appears to be some sort of dementia, she meets Sam Carson, who is in the process of trying to dodge a former lover. She is convinced that Sam is a Duke and a will be a perfect match for her granddaughter the Princess. I absolutely loved her.
Sam Carson while a bit of a modern day rogue was very kind and respectful to Granny Donny and I think that is why I liked him so much. He didn’t treat her like she was crazy or weak-minded. He played along with her, but didn’t take advantage of it. Despite the outward appearance of being a player, he had a very kind and understanding heart, not to mention lots of patience with Ally when I’m not so sure she deserves it.
Ally took me some time to start to like and even by the end, I’m not too sure I really liked her all that much. I believe she was a smart woman, but lacked common sense. There seemed to be a lot of “what about me” or “what I am I going to do” moments with her. She was in the process of moving from the east coast to the west when “something went wrong” with Grandma Donny. Ally was so focused on her own “deadline” that through most of the story she looked like a spoiled brat. I don’t know if her “protecting” of Granny Donny was for Granny Donny’s benefit or for Ally’s inheritance. Ally does grow up a bit and redeems herself some towards the end of the story, but not enough for me to really start to like her.
Overall, I liked this story. I loved or liked most of the characters including Granny Donny‘s “coachman” Mateo who has his own secrets and Ally’s friend June, all of whom have to work to get Ally to wake up and get over her whiny-ness and realize it’s not all about Ally.
I also liked the premise of this story. Too many times these stories end up being time travel stories, which I don‘t like, but Ms. Holquist did a nice job of keeping this contemporary while adding in the historical side to it. I also think she a good job of writing Granny Donny’s character. Mental issues with the older generation today are becoming more prevalent, but still so many don’t want to acknowledge it and I thank Ms. Holquist for writing it so well.
Commitment-phobic Sam Carson has only dated model-gorgeous women. But one stolen kiss from a plain-Jane schoolteacher and he’s hell-bent on stripping away her floral dresses and teaching her the art of being bad. If only her good-girl ways didn’t make him want to be a better man…
Ally Giordano is at the end of her rope. Her beloved grandmother actually believes that she’s living in her favorite romance novel in Regency England and Ally doesn’t have the heart to set her straight. But now Granny Donny’s last wish is for a retreat to the country and Ally can’t refuse her…until she demands that Sam accompany them. And though his smiles turn her knees into jelly, Ally knows better than to trust a playboy…and she definitely knows better than to try to change one. Or does she?
Read an excerpt here.