Sunday, December 24, 2017

Early Review of If Ever I Should Love You (Spinster Heiresses, #1) by Cathy Maxwell

Title: If Ever I Should Love You: A Spinster Heiresses Novel (The Spinster Heiresses)
Classification: Adult Fiction
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: The Spinster Heiresses (Book 1)
Format: Hardcover; 272 pages
Publisher: Avon (December 26, 2017)
ISBN-10: 0062804103
ISBN-13: 978-0062804105
Author's Website:
Notes: I received an eARC loan in exchange for an honest review.

Years ago, the paths of Leonie Charnock and the Earl of Rochdale crossed. It did not end well. When the two finally parted, one was left with his military career in shambles and his reputation tainted. The other was left with a huge life lesson, that had cost her dearly. It also left a third man dead. Nobody but the three of them knows the truth about what truly happened that fateful night, and none of them are talking.

When Roman Gilchrist discovers he's the recipient of  an earldom, he finds himself in the perilous position of needing a bride--fast, and not just any bride will do. He needs a bride with a significant dowry because it appears he's inherited not only his successor's title but his debts as well. When he realizes Leonie is one of the three most wealthy heiresses who have been dubbed the "Spinster Heiresses" he sets his sights on her. After all, she owes him...
This was not your typical historical romance. It dealt with some heavy issues like rape and alcoholism, things that were not readily talked about back in the day, but nonetheless existed. Although we get some of the details of what went down, we don't get an actual play-by-play version of  what exactly transpired. We get just enough information to understand how the events helped to shaped Leonie and Roman into the people they are at the beginning of the story. For the most part, Roman is a great guy who genuinely cares about his family and Leonie. He's a bit harsh with her at the start of their marriage, but he has good reason. Likewise, there are reasons for Leonie's actions and reactions. She's a strong but deeply flawed individual who has yet to heal from the events in her past.

In some ways, this story reminded me a little of 'The Taming of the Shrew' but instead of Leonie's personality and attitude needing adjustment, it was her fear of marriage and love of drink that needed to be altered. Leonie has no interest in marriage whatsoever and would, ironically, prefer becoming a spinster. Roman doesn't exactly get her to agree to marry him. The way he handled things led me to be a bit wary of him, especially with his 'she owes me' attitude. Add in that he wasn't forthcoming about everything in his own desperation to get her dowry, and I didn't blame Leonie for being more than a little upset with the man.

What I loved about the story was how Leonie rose to whatever occasion was thrown at her and found herself, as well as love, in the end. Roman ended up eventually living up to my first impression and expectations of him, despite, in my humble opinion, his questionable behavior at one point. I liked how he cared about Leonie's feelings and, in the end, supported her through a difficult time. I truly believe sometimes you have to be the one to rescue yourself because you're the only one who can, but a little help from those who love and care about you is always welcomed.

I ended up giving this one 4 out of 5 roses. I thought the love story was a sweet, charming, heartwarming, and unique. I loved how Roman allowed Leonie to rescue herself. For the most part he was understanding, patient, and exactly what she needed. I very much enjoyed seeing the transformation of these two as they went from strangers to a couple very much in love. On the Lisarenee Romance Rating Scale, this one earned a STEAM rating--too hot for a fan, but you still have a handle on things. You should use extreme caution when reading a book with this rating in public. People may inquire as to why you looked flustered and flushed.

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