Low Language, Low Religion, Low Violence, Moderate Romance, Two Stars

Don’t judge a book by it’s cover

I’m such a sucker for a pretty cover. I know they say you shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover, and yes I’m aware that that’s usually in reference to people, but I totally do; for books, I try really hard not to do it with people. A cover can easily pull me in or turn me away. This cover is adorable, I really love it. However I did not love the book.

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Standing before Feldstone Manor, site of so many happy memories, Rose Davenport feels nothing but dread. Her family’s annual visit to the stately home was once brightened by her friendship with the earl’s youngest son, William, but everything changed the day his elder brother was disinherited and William became heir to his father’s earldom. From that moment, William made it clear he has no interest in continuing an acquaintance with Rose. Heartbroken, she sets out to prove that she will simply not be ignored—or outdone—by the arrogant future lord of the manor.

When his elder brother marries for love, William’s entire life changes in an instant. He does not have the same option to marry whom he chooses, and he must let go of the feelings he has harbored for his dear friend, Rose. He steels himself against her annual visits, determined to keep his feelings for her a secret. But when he makes the hasty promise to marry within six months, he never dreams that his actions will lead Rose to impulsively undertake the same challenge

I try really hard to find the good in what I read because I know how scary it is to put something out there for people to respond to. But I also have to be honest. I’m usually a huge fan of books from this time period and this trope. The friends to more with a wrench thrown in the middle always provides for good tension and emotionally driven moments. However I had a hard time getting past the wrench.

The crutch of the whole book was that Rose was unsuitable. I spent 60 percent of the book too distracted about why she was unsuitable that I couldn’t fully appreciate the rest of the story. When I finally understood William’s point of view and his situation his actions made complete sense, however the catalyst for his actions was his father, which made me confused all over again. For that time period, with a man that uppity, the man would not have associated with a family so closely year after year if their daughter was that unsuitable.

There were some tender parts and the setting was described beautifully but the plot just left me confused and the characters were more obtuse than endearing. There was very little character growth, and the resolution between the two didn’t even come about from growth, but third party involvement leaving the characters very one dimensional.

This is a debut novel for this author and I don’t always love every book from even my favorite authors so there’s a chance I could love whatever comes next from Esther Hatch. 

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