Well, well. Am I ever surprised. But I will explain why shortly. So, I started the Renwick House series not too long ago. I was able to purchase all of the books fairly cheaply from Kobo, and they had pretty decent ratings on Goodreads, so I thought, why not? Plus, the covers are gorgeous and the blurbs all sound really good. I was pretty geared up for a historical romance, so I decided to delve into book two. Here is my review for you.
Summary from Goodreads
Paperback, 270 pages
Published January 5th 2012
by Astraea Press
Help came in the form of an unlikely alliance with Miss Emma Gates, the beautiful daughter of a wealthy viscount, who has deemed herself on the shelf, and only wants to marry in order to appease her parents. Together they could sort through the mire of would-be mates to find their perfect matches. That is, if they could keep their hands off each other long enough to pursue likely candidates.
When a man from Emma’s past makes a play for her hand, the truth about her life threatens to destroy Sebastian’s reputation, a reputation he has carefully guarded since his youth. In the end, the Angel Duke has to make a choice that will end up changing his reputation forever.
I like the first book in the series, The Ugly Duckling Debutante well enough. Van Dyken's style is light and fun and easy to get drawn into. And this time around I noticed less editing errors, though I still caught some basic grammar/punctuation errors that made me want to ground my eyes out. But it wasn't grammar that got on my nerves this time around. I was quite put out this time around to find that as entertaining the story was, and as madly hot as these two characters are for each other, the bedroom door was shut in my face. I was very annoyed! I mean, Sebastian (why am I forever falling for fictional British guys by this name?) was constantly lusting after Emma. And she could hardly seem to do anything but flirt with Sebastian or day dream about his kisses. I really liked this couple together.
Emma is pert, and daring and highly adventurous. I love how she is constantly challenging Sebastian. Emma loved to arouse and challenge Sebastian and just generally annoy him, which made me want to cheer for her; but she was convinced that with her soiled reputation, Sebastian could never want to marry her, even if it did seem that he shared the same feelings for her that she had for him. He's such a stuffed shirt after all, she just didnt' see it happening. I mean, his nickname among the ton was the Angel Duke. Who gets called that? Only him because he's so meticulously cultivated a thoroughly spotless reputation. He's a perfect angel, very proper and worried about appearances, but underneath it all, he's something of a rake at heart. He thinks it's damn inconvenient that he has to get married at all, but a duke (naturally) must produce a heir. He really loathes the idea of attending the season and having all sorts of silly girls trail after him for the title of duchess, so he enlists Nicholas' and Sara's help in choosing a wife.
Then he throws that plan out the window as he promptly falls in love with Emma and the two of them begin the most ridiculous romance ever. They decide to pretend to be engaged so that they keep all the suitors at bay while each of them picks out the other's spouse. You know how this story is going to end...which is fine by me because I couldn't take these two constantly kissing in dark corners and then thinking of each other all night long and gnashing their teeth over hot and bothered they were. Especially Sebastian. Enter the novel's villain, John, the brother of Emma's ex-fiancee, Rawlings, who kidnaps Emma with the purpose of forcing himself upon her. Naturally, his efforts are thwarted at Gretna Green and Sebastian marries Emma after confessing how madly he loves her.
This is where the bedroom door gets shut in our faces. And I couldn't understand why! After all, the scene was set. They had disrobed. There was a bath. We all know what follows next. And it's not and they wake up the next morning which is what I got. As well as a case of whiplash! I was like, "what happened?" And, thinking, "but the last book had a bedroom scene, so I don't get it..."I was totally put out. But then, as I was surfing around on Goodreads, I read that this series is on a clean romance list and many of the reviewers mentioned how clean the first one was. So, um, I can't be mad about that bedroom door being shut in my face. Clearly I'm remembering the first book incorrectly when it comes to the bedroom activity.
But I'm left with a little problem...how do I rate this clean romance? Not that I have a problem with clean romances, I mean clearly it didn't bother me in the last book, but this time around I was expecting it not only because of my faulty memory but because it seemed to really be leading there? I have to set that aside however if this series is "clean." Taking that into consideration, it does change how I'm viewing this. I have to say, the characters made me laugh, the pacing was good, and I connected a bit more with Sebastian and Emma than I did with Sara and Nicholas. The only thing that really bothered me was that the villain John was overthrown and that part of the story was wrapped up far too quick and easy and off page for me.
3.5 glittering stars