This review is based on a complimentary book I received from NetGalley. It is an honest and voluntary review. The complimentary receipt of it in no way affected my review or rating.Merely a Marriage by Jo Beverley
Genres: Historical Fiction, Romance
Release Date: May 30, 2017
Publisher: Jove Books
Purchase at: Amazon ◊ Barnes & Noble ◊ Book Depository ◊ Google Play ◊ Kobo ◊ IndieBound
The New York Times bestselling author of The Viscount Needs a Wife returns with another roguishly delicious Regency romance...
As England mourns the death of Princess Charlotte, Lady Ariana Boxstall has another succession in mind. Her brother, Norris, is a strapping young man, but he s also happily unmarried and childless. Norris agrees to take a wife on one condition: that Ariana take a husband first. Although she realizes she risks a lifetime in a loveless marriage, for the sake of her family, Ariana accepts his challenge.
When the Earl of Kynaston met Ariana eight years ago, he broke her heart. Since then, his own heart has been broken, and he s sworn off love...until he sees Ariana all grown-up and his resolve is threatened.
Could Ariana s bargain with Norris actually lead her to happiness? With real love on the line, she must win over the one man who refuses to be had."
Let’s start with what I did like. The cover is beautiful and a bit saucy. Alrighty, now we move on to what did not work for me. The main character, Ariana Boxstall. At the start of this story I was just getting to know her and she was okay. I liked that she was looking out for her family and stood up for what she felt was right. I even found it humorous that she was going to find a husband in order to ensure her family’s security.
Where the story started to go wrong for me was the introduction of the male protagonist, Earl of Kynaston. He gave her a terrible hurt about eight years prior and honestly it was very minor. It impacted her so greatly only because this character has low self-esteem. She is tall and I think that how she was treated in regards to that could have been realistic but being in her head was just tedious. She relived the slight many times over and what really got me was that she was eavesdropping so it was not as if she understood why it was said. Throughout the entire story, she turned over every physical detail about herself that she was self-conscious of. Whenever any dialogue occurred she looked for the slights in it. OMG!
I could have lived with her character the way she was if she had confronted the Earl and found out the truth. Then be mad, then take slight over everything, then make him pay. There were parts where the character showed strength but being in her head with her simpering ruined this for me. If I had spent most of my time in the head of the Earl, I think I could have enjoyed it more.
Next up is the romance. It was not there for me. I did not feel that his attraction to her was truly articulated. There was nothing he expressed that made my heart go pitter-patter. His reasoning for being standoffish was understandable but not really convincing to me. Her infatuation with him was completely believable but almost annoying. I am all for heroine’s going for their man but I felt that in the end she was very underhanded and pushy. I would have liked it better if she had truly assaulted his senses to the point that he just broke and had to have her. Yes, a passionate embrace where he was senseless would have been nice. She just manipulated the situation and he caved to her will. Weak man, just weak.
So, I did not love the main characters but what about the story itself? It was monotonous to me. With that said I was able to finish this book. Yes, the story was boring but it did keep me going because I wanted to see how it finished out. There is something to be said there. It was a clean read and that is always nice. I cannot say that I recommend this book but I can state that what does not work for me may work for you.
*Thank you to NetGalley & Berkley Publishing Group for this eARC of Merely a Marriage*