“A most delicious challenge…
Experience has taught Emily Shaw that men are best avoided, so she’s determined to take her place in society alone and unrestrained by marriage. Renting a room in the heart of London, she establishes a Women’s League to promote equality between the sexes and teach women to be independent.
Jasper St David isn’t looking for distractions, but he’s fascinated by beautiful, fiercely opinionated Emily when she moves into the office above his. And when he learns of her determination never to succumb to male charms, he can’t help but see it as a challenge! After all, Jasper’s always found nothing more tantalising than the thrill of the chase…”
Undone by His Kiss is a little out of my reading comfort zone, but I am SO glad I stepped out of my comfort zone, because I really enjoyed it. Although it’s the second book in the Regency Charms series, it can be read as a standalone (which is what I did). It tells the story of Emily Shaw, a young woman scarred by men and therefore determined to assert her independence. To do this she sets up The League of Virtuous Equality, whilst also trying to care for her heartbroken mother. At the start of the book Emily is firmly anti-romance, until she meets the dashing Jasper. Jasper is soon equally smitten with Emily, and thus our love story begins.
Emily is a great main character. Her past is explored in an emotionally intelligent way and I love how subtly it informs almost her every interaction with Jasper. I also love her commitment to female independence, I thought that Emily’s passions were well explored and it was clear as to why she was the de-facto leader of The League of Virtuous Equality. I also really enjoyed the clearly strained, but ultimately loving relationship with her mother – this was a fascinating relationship to explore and I thought it was done beautifully, the complexity of that mother-daughter relationship was clear to see.
Jasper, our love interest, was the perfect foil for Emily. I really liked that the narration switched between Emily and Jasper, and therefore we got a further glimpse into Jasper’s head – his feelings and emotions. I loved the flirty back and forth between Jasper and Emily – the romantic tension was evident from the get go. I also loved that Jasper was also facing a lot of pressure from family and society in general – he was a character that didn’t seem there to merely be a love interest but also had his own wants and motivations.
I thought the relationship between Emily and Jasper was handled beautifully. I think the build up was well paced and executed perfectly and by the time the book ended, I felt that their emotional bond was solid and realistic. I also really enjoyed the conflict that Emily felt between love and her ideals, and ultimately agreed with her that independence from men did not have to mean that you couldn’t fall in love. I thought this was a really nice sentiment.
Overall this book is a fun, smart historical romance with a strong heroine and a beautifully written love story. I really enjoyed it, and will definitely be picking up some more historical romance soon.
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Anabelle began reading at age three and never stopped. Her passion for reading soon turned into a passion for writing and an author was born. Happy to grab a suitcase if it ensures a new adventure, Anabelle finds endless inspiration in travel, especially imaginary jaunts into Regency England, a far cry from her home in New Jersey. Instead, her clever characters live out her daydreams because really, who wouldn’t want to dance with a handsome duke or kiss a wicked earl? Though teaching keeps her grounded, photography, running and writing, counterbalance her wanderlust. Often found with her nose in a book, Anabelle earned her Master’s Degree and is completing her Doctorate Degree in education. Thrilled to be an author for Harlequin’s Carina line, Anabelle’s historical romances are character driven. She strives to provide a heartfelt connection between her hero, heroine, and the reader, believing the emotional journey on the path to true love is the most important bond. Clever secondary characters and lively conversation keep the pages turning.
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