This was my first Christi Caldwell romance and I was so excited to read it! I have seen Caldwell’s novels around the bookish world and I have often wondered how they compare to other historical romances. So when this one came up for review, I knew I had to jump on it even if I had to rearrange my reading calendar to make it happen.
I know a lot of people raved about this one and said it was the perfect book for fans of the Bridgerton books. I have to say, Caldwell has a voice all her own and while there might be similarities to Julia Quinn, they are clearly different writers within the same genre. That’s not saying that Caldwell is inferior to Quinn, just that they have a different flair so if you are thinking this book is going to be exactly like the Bridgerton books then you might be disappointed. But if you are wanting historical romance that is well done with some humor, then yes in that regard they are similar.
I picked this one up and read it super quick, which is typical for me when it comes to historical romance. Historical romances are usually light fun reading for me and this one was no different! If you have read Caldwell before, no doubt you will want to get your hands on this new series as it promises to be a wonderful series for fans of historical romance.
The brooding, illegitimate son of a duke meets his match in the determined woman hired to transform him into a gentleman from USA Today bestselling author Christi Caldwell—perfect for fans of Bridgerton.
Rafe Audley lives to thwart his father, the Duke of Bentley. The ne’er do well who abandoned his children claims he wants to make up for his failures, but Rafe only cares about protecting the people of his mining community and providing for his three siblings, who’ve been his sole responsibility since childhood. So far, Rafe has turned away the duke’s man of affairs, solicitor, and other interlopers, until the clever duke sends the unlikeliest of people to convince Rafe to join English High Society—a bold and intriguing woman.
Edwina Dalrymple has never failed a charge. She’s quite adept at successfully transforming young women of the gentry and daughters of newly minted lords to take their place in society. Taming a bastard son of a duke will be child’s play, plus this job promises to enhance her reputation within the ton. All she has to do is fetch the wayward Rafe and groom him to be presentable to Polite Society.
As the tenacious teacher and her domineering, stubborn, refuses-to-be-taught pupil engage in a fiery battle of wills, their chemistry ignites and the true lesson becomes clear: opposites attract and hearts must be heard. (summary from Goodreads)
To be fair, while I did enjoy this one and I read it rather quickly there were times when I felt like it was a little on the silly side. This one was big of a Beauty and the Beast retelling. Posh girl brought in to tame the rather unruly and burly man into a passable lord. It started out pretty strong but then it quickly got overwhelming. There was a lot going on in the storyline (abandonment by the father, family issues, sibling tension, coal mining things, oh ya and romance!). At some point I had to just kind of ignore the background noise and focus on what was going on between Edwina and Rafe. I mean the book wasn’t bad there was just a lot going on for me and honestly the likelihood of a story like this happening was a pretty far cry but then again, it’s fiction and why not just enjoy it for what it is—love, romance, chemistry, and a happy ending. I liked this one, although I didn’t love it in the way that I have loved some other historical romances I’ve read this year.
That said, I would read more by Caldwell. There was enough of a good story here for me to want to read more. It was an easy read which provided me with a couple of nights of entertainment and a few smiles and chuckles and I can’t be mad at that! It was good enough that I would recommend it to fans of historical romance but there are other historical romances I would probably recommend first if that makes sense. I liked the premise but something just didn’t jive for me and I think it was just that there was a lot of layers to the story and a lot of threads to keep track of.
Edwina was generally sweet and sassy which was a great combo (one of my favorites in historical romances) and I loved the enemies to lovers troupe. Rafe was stubborn and yet had this strong protective quality about him that will endear him to readers. Edwina and Rafe had great chemistry and I would expect nothing less from a seasoned romance writer like Caldwell! She did a solid job even if I didn’t love the story in the way that I had hoped I would still recommend it and I was glad I read it. If you love historical romances then don’t miss this one!
Book Info and Rating
Format: 320 pages, Mass Market Paperback
Published: August 24 2021 by Berkley Books
Free review copy provided by publisher, Berkley Books, in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and in no way influenced.
Rating: 3 stars
Genre: historical romance