Series: The Merry Widows, Book 3
Rating: 4 Stars
Length: 68 Pages
Disclosure: An ARC of this book was provided to me by Carina Press via NetGalley. This rating, review, and all included thoughts and comments are my own.
Lady Daphne Pomeroy doesn't concern herself with the ton's standards on scandalous behavior. As a widow, she's largely exempt from their collective censure. Even still, from the moment she meets the dashing and stoic Marquess of Hartwell, she pursues him with an intensity that would set the ton on its ear.
His reputation is forbidding, but the time they spent together while sharing a dance suggests to Daphne that he has been horribly misjudged. He's not the Black Hart his sobriquet would have her believe. In fact, Daphne suspects he's rather noble, but intensely shy and socially awkward.
In short, he's irresistible to her. And she would be most pleased if any of her best efforts could at least snag his attention. Perhaps a less subtle approach...
Of course, any more obvious and she really will be scandalous.
Though much of the tale of this story is hampered by its extremely short length, I loved both Daphne and Camden so much that I couldn't find it in me to be overly critical. It was a fabulous role reversal, with the spirited and forthright Daphne doing just about anything she could think of to get Camden to notice her and Camden noticing, but being too shy and nervous to approach her.
Normally, insecure romantic heroes are a big turn off for me. I like both my male and female protagonists to be strong. Camden's speech impediment, though, and the trauma that was his childhood, made him more sympathetic and endearing than weak. I adored him.
The romance arc did feel a bit like a mile-high free fall, and love came into their relationship way too quickly for my tastes. I also wish there had been a little less page time spent on their one sex scene. I enjoyed it, but in this case I think those pages could have better served a slightly more robust conflict and resolution for the couple.
None of that detracted so much that I wasn't still able to heartily enjoy what I read. This is a short but very sweet historical romance novella that kept me engaged and entertained for a couple of hours. It was unique and charming. The characters were a dream. I enjoyed it all quite a lot.