Wednesday, February 17, 2016

4 stars-- A Convenient Engagement (Countess Scandals #1) by Kimberly Bell

A Convenient Engagement! Ahhh it was so fun! The quick of it is that Gavan--a Scottish Laird who has pretty much runaway from the job-- and Hannah-- a woman on her own after her father's death and starting over--are new neighbors. And lordy be but it is NOT going well. Construction at ungodly hours--on her part--and endless complaints--on his part. A scandalous row as they have it out on the front steps. A cut direct. A engagement of convenience to save her reputation. Whew. Yeah. It's enough to drive a rake to drink but so damn entertaining for us!

1. Gavan was a trip. He's an outlandish rake who lives up to his disreputable reputation and does so with a gleeful relish! When things first kick off I wasn't sure he was going to be for me. He really isn't that great of a guy though somehow he manages to still be charming as you shake your head at his lack of responsibility and his flare for the inappropriate. But under that he's dealing with long ago hurts and really is a wonderfully thoughtful and kind. Not to mention very accepting of others who don't quite fit in.

2. And Hannah. I loved her. She's a strong woman who is starting over after the death of her father. She's a woman of means now and she intends to enjoy her freedom and her first season. I loved that she wasn't a push over. She gave just as good as she got when it came to Gavin. She's socially awkward, incredibly curious (her dad was a scholar) and had an endearing exuberance when it came to all of her firsts--driving, dancing, making love. It was so fun watching her embrace life.
Hannah sat down at the writing desk in her study and began to compose a letter.

Dear Insufferable Jackass,

That wouldn't do. She crumpled the paper and started again.

Dear Overbearing Sycophant,

Still not very refined. Another paper crumbled and fount it's way to the floor.

Dear Resident of Number Fifteen,

That would do very nicely. Hannah moved to the next line.

Dear Resident of Number Fifteen, 
You are an imbecile,

Damn it all. Writing an entire letter while she was this angry was going to take forever.
3. I loved Hannah and Gavan together. They have between them. It sparks from the very beginning as they have it out again and again and basically land themselves in hot water and needing to save her reputation. I seriously love the fake mates trope so their engagement of convenience--that they didn't plan on following through on--totally worked for me. I loved seeing them together and getting to actually know one another beyond all the grrrs. He helped her lighten up a spot and he really became a better man because of time spent with her. It was lovely (and fun) to see. There's a lot of sexual tension but light on full action until the end. Though there were a couple yummy scenes in the mix. Oh and a runaway hymen which is so very common in historicals.

4. The secondary characters were wonderful! I seriously cannot wait to hear all of their stories (and really hope we do!). From his cousin, sister and mysterious majordomo to her companions--a very straight laced Jane and her oh so lively aunt Mathilda) and even her maid. They added such a lovely layer to the story. It was fun seeing all of the different relationships and such quirky characters together. None with society exactly but they fit together perfectly.
Mathilda waved off Hannah's distress. "She's perfectly resepctable. He just means the Halifax scandal. About ten years back, the Earl of Halifax died and left her a decently sized fortune. The will claimed it was for recompense for her lovely conversation, but the common assumption is that they were lovers."

"Aunt Mattie!" Jane said in a shushing tone.

"What's wrong with saying 'lovers'?" Mathilda asked.

"It's an unseemly subject," Hannah's friend said firmly.

"What would be unseemly is if I said they were f--"

"Aunt Mattie!" Jane cut her aunt off sharply.

Mathilda's eyes twinkled with mischief when she continued.
5. There's a little danger added into the mix as someone begins to target Hannah. It was fairly obvious but still added a nice extra bit of ooomf to the storyline.

All in all, Bell delivered a charmingly scandalous start to what promises to be a delightfully entertaining series.
An independent young woman of means, Miss Hannah Howard is as stubborn as she is beautiful. After she moves to London for her first season among the ton, she immediately finds herself in a heated dispute with her neighbor, the ill-mannered Gavan Dalreoch, Earl of Rhone. Giving the Earl a black eye is a lapse in judgment—even though the Scottish scoundrel deserved it. Now with her reputation in jeopardy, her only hope for saving face is the man whose face she bruised.

Gavan is content to live up to his rakish reputation, but with family pressuring him to marry, he and Hannah agree to get engaged just long enough to appear respectable. Yet as the charade continues with stolen kisses and a trip to Gavan's Scottish castle, Gavan and Hannah discover that their false engagement may be more real than they imagined.
Challenges: Pick Your Genre (historical) | New to You (author/series) | Goodreads

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