A bit of a confession: I like romance novels.
Let’s get the icky accountability stuff out of the way first: I know Kimberly Bell as a friend of a friend. We have had very little direct interaction. When I was told that she had a book coming out soon, I was curious and decided to request the ARC through Netgalley. This is an honest review.
I think I’ve previously mentioned that Romance and Horror (Jackie Collins & Stephen King respectively, take it as you will) were the first two adult genres that I was exposed to at a tender age. My Mum’s inclinations are towards romance novels, so anything beyond this genre was up to me to source on my own, generally through the local library. This means that there were a LOT of romance novels to read per year in my household. Mum will still pass along books when she is done with them. Her favourite gift from us, so far, is a Kobo — because she can carry a whole library of romance novels with her at any given time. She’s a voracious reader and connoisseur.
So when I say that A Convenient Engagement is a book that my mother will love, I’m not exaggerating or being overly complimentary. I simply know her tastes.
A book with multi-generational appeal
Why will my mother love this book? We have two engaging main characters. Gavan and Hannah have fully rounded personalities that are wonderful both together and apart. Our hero is cosmopolitan and knowledgeable about the world he lives in. Our heroine is strong, independant, and just a touch naive from a sheltered upbringing.
There is a full cast of supporting characters that have their own personalities. The butlers for each household are a contrast in dynamics. Gavan’s cousin is a study in contrasts (action vs reaction to English society norms). Hannah’s maid is allowed to be a real person, rather than just a bit-part who fixes hair. Hannah’s chaperones are also fleshed out very well, from heart-weary Jane to vivacious Aunt Mattie. The fact that I can remember the character names and their personalities without too much prompting from the page of notes in my journal is pretty telling.
There are a couple of somewhat underdeveloped characters that have large roles in the plot, but as much as that stood out to me, it didn’t ruin the story as a whole. I will expect to see some improvement on that in future novels.
Independent characters trying to make good choices
One of the pitfalls I generally see with historical romances is what I internally refer to as the “twit factor”. In other words, to what extent does a main character (usually the man) act like a twit, primarily when their love interest is around? I am not seeing that here, and I am thankful for it. I get the feeling that if the characters hadn’t met each other, they could have lived fulfilling lives apart, but the fact that they found each other will only enhance their lives. Neither is a besotted twit, both are enjoyable people to spend time with.
And the story made me laugh! I’ve been very lucky to pick some fun romance titles recently, and this one was no exception. I read it within a two-day turnaround, which is usually something that only happens with J.D. Robb (Nora Roberts) novels and really engaging fantasy books. The writing was witty and clever without calling too much attention to *being* witty and clever. The author’s natural storytelling voice is delightfully charming.
The ultimate test — will I give this book to my Mum? Definitely. In fact, when the book is available on February 16th, I’ll be buying copies for both Mum and my Mother-in-Law. Because it turns out that she, too, sneaks good romance books on the sly.
TL;DR A light-hearted romp with engaging multi-faceted characters. An easy-to-read treat you can enjoy with your book group or romance-reading Mum
A Convenient Engagement (Countess Scandals #1) by Kimberly Bell
Series: The Countess Scandals #1
Published by InterMix
Amazon | Kobo
This post contains an affiliate link (to Amazon) you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.
I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.