Author: Joanna Barker
Genre: Historical Romance
Release Date: October 1, 2020
Constantly stifled by the rules of Society, spirited Rebecca Rowley enjoys finding ways to quietly—or not so quietly—rebel. But riding bareback and avoiding nosy neighbors are nothing compared to the thrilling secret she is keeping from her family.
When Rebecca's quick thinking saves the life of a young girl, she unwittingly attracts the attention of the child's dashing brother, Lieutenant Nicholas Avery. As that attention turns flirtatious, Rebecca is forced to tell him the truth: she is secretly engaged—to the one man her family would never approve of. Fortunately, Lieutenant Avery is a navy man with no wish to marry, or so they both assume as they enter into a friendship. Rebecca hopes to change her family's mind about her betrothed, but the more she comes to know the handsome lieutenant, the more she wonders if she promised her hand too hastily.
After all her carefully laid plans are shattered during a family crisis, Rebecca must force her heart to decide. Should she stay true to the promise she made or fight for the future she's only just begun to imagine?
Reviewer: Mindy Houng
"The moments of beauty make every difficulty worthwhile and every hardship bearable."
Joanna Barker has received high praise for her Regency romance so I ventured out on the advice of many bloggers and reviewers to try out this new-to-me author. The writing is quite clever and lovely, exactly what I would have expected from a skilled author of Regency era. The dialogue is witty and the banter quite fun, stuffed underneath the stiff formality of that time period. The characters are intriguing and lend themselves to breaking all the rules of proper society, which is delightful to watch. There is romantic tension, family drama, buried family secrets, horses, target practice and emotions that range from raw and broken to tender. But, unfortunately, I did not love the book. I am sad that I didn't and wish I did.
The heroine Rebecca is a spirited young woman, the baby of the family. She's got heart, tenacity, and compassion with a lot of impulsivity and immaturity thrown into the mix. Despite her fascinating personality, I didn't connect with her and since the story is told in first person perspective, I was left with a sense of loss from not having had anyone else's perspective, particularly Lieutenant Avery's. I really liked Lieutenant Avery but he felt a bit two-dimensional. going from a gruff and uncouth man lacking manners to a charming, thoughtful, loyal and tender friend within a matter of few days and then vacillating back and forth in Rebecca's mind. The plot slowed down in several places but picked up after the love triangle became established, though how it ends isn't very difficult to figure out. If you enjoy Regency romance, you will likely enjoy this book. Though I didn't love it, I am glad to have read the author's work.
I received a copy of the book from Covenant Communications via Interview & Reviews and was under no obligation to post a positive review. All comments and opinions are solely my own.
Reviewer: Lori Parrish
I must say I truly enjoyed this delightful tale! I laughed until I cried because of Rebecca's antics. She's unlike no other young lady that I've ever met. The only thing that I didn't like was the constant apologies that, at times, I just shook my head.
Lt. Avery was interesting, to say the least. I liked him from the get-go. I loved his humorous side. His handling of Olivia left something to be desired, but I thought he did okay given the circumstances. I felt that even though Olivia was rather stubborn at times, she brought a certain charm to the story. I enjoyed "watching her grow."
Now, about the horses. I enjoyed riding along with Rebecca. I've never felt freer! I love horses! I'm glad the author included them. It's not good to hold secrets. They do have a way of coming to the surface, whether you want them to or not. Plus, not only that, they tend to hurt the ones we love even if we didn't mean to.
The story is told from Rebecca's point of view, which I loved immensely. It made it much easier to connect with Rebecca. I love Barker's books, and this one did not disappoint. I can't wait to see what she comes out with next.
My thanks to Netgalley. I was not required to write a positive review of this book, and all opinions are my own.
Reviewer: Laura J. Davis
What a delight to find yet another "new favourite" author to me! While Joanna Barker is a popular author (she was a finalist in our Book of the Year awards last year), I have never read one of her books. I can honestly say it won't be my last.
I loved the inner dialogue of Rebecca Rowley. Her humour and impulsiveness reminded me of Jane Austen's Emma. It was quite a treat to peek inside her thoughts. Her friendship with Nicolas Avery was also reminiscent of Emma. She feels perfectly safe to call him a friend because she is "otherwise engaged" (perfect title by the way). Nicolas, for his part, accepts this new friendship, agreeing to keep Rebecca's engagement secret. The quick and witty banter between them was so realistic I felt like I was watching a movie. Filled with hilarity, romance, a mystery we are in on and misunderstandings, this is a story you will want to place on your "keeper" shelf. I will miss these characters.
If you love Jane Austen and Regency Romances, you will love this book. I highly recommend it.
I received a copy courtesy of Covenant Communications through NetGalley, for my honest opinion.
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