Thursday, March 17, 2016

4 stars-- Happily Bedded Bliss (The Rakes of Cavendish Square #2) by Tracy Anne Warren

Happily Bedded Bliss. Something Lady Esme and her reluctant husband Lord Northcote must fight for...fiercely. Theirs isn't an easy romance or one that's particularly sweet or romantic but it was touching, hard won and in the end had me sighing in relief that these two had figured things out. And oh the things they had to figure out...whew!

The quick of it is that Lady Esme can't always help herself. Some things are just too damn tempting and stumbling on a sleeping--and naked--Gabriel one afternoon as she walked along the lake so brings that out in the naughtiest of ways and before she realizes it she's sketching the nude stranger and sealing both of their fates. The only way to avoid a scandalous and tattered reputation after they're made public? According to her many brothers...marriage to said stranger, of course!

I had a push and pull with both Esme and Gabriel. In the end I felt for them both and was glad they were together but during their long journey together (the book spans many months) they both proved to be both a trial and a lovely discovery. Esme is very young and so full of life. She cares for animals and is a vegetarian (yay! I love seeing that) and is rather impetuous. She's always had so much freedom in her life and been protected by her very large family and suddenly her life is turned upside down. She's having to leave home and be someone's wife. Having to do what they say and adjust to a new life. I so felt for her and her frustrations along the way.  She made the best of the life she was dealt, though, and stood her ground when need be and proved to be a very strong soul.

And Gabriel. I felt for him too. He had a hard childhood and knew very few moments of kindness in his life and then was pulled into a marriage he didn't want by no fault of his own. He had nothing to do with ruining Esme yet he did the right thing and married her to save her reputation despite being a rake with the blackest of reputations. I wanted to bite him. Sometimes in a fun way and sometimes not so much. lol
"Don't make a scene, darling." Northcote murmured for her ears alone. "Not at your own wedding."

"I am not your darling."

"No, you are my wife. Or have you forgotten the vows you took today? Among them was your promise to obey me."

"No, it wasn't. I crossed my fingers during that part, so it didn't count."

His lips twitched as if he was suddenly of a mind to laugh. 
Theirs was an interesting romance. It's not polished and prettied up but is a pretty realistic look into a reluctant marriage between two virtual strangers. Two people who are bound because of societies rules and obligation. It could be awkward and heart breaking and in some moments sweet and funny, too.

I really can't imagine life like that. Having to marry someone I didn't know or want to marry but otherwise facing being ostracized by society. Being expected to have sex with a stranger and really having no choice if they pushed the issue because I belonged to them. That was an issue in this one for me. It really pushed that edge of the issue for me and at times almost tipped into being unacceptable. It didn't quite but it got close which was difficult to read because I understood Esme and her fears of being intimate with someone she didn't really know even if he was her husband.

I did like these two together when they weren't battling one another or their fears and insecurities and could just get along. They had sweet moments and were really lovely people. Esme was such a force and way more forgiving than I would have been with Gabriel and his mercurial moods--and oh he had his moments. Historical homeboy has a total freak out moment and it comes complete with some douchey moves. I mean. Whew! But he gets his shit together and won me over in the end :)

All in all, Happily Bedded Bliss was a captivating read. Warren has a way of pulling you in completely and taking you for an incredible ride that may be a little bumpy but totally worth each and every growly moment endured. Definitely looking forward to more from the series.

When Lady Esme Byron happens upon a gorgeous naked man sleeping beside a secluded country lake, she can’t resist the impulse to sketch him. But when her highly improper drawing is mistakenly revealed at a party, she finds her once-pristine reputation in tatters.

Gabriel, Lord Northcote, may be a notorious rakehell, but he is still stunned to find himself accused of despoiling a duke’s sister—especially since he's never set eyes on her. When Esme’s six irate brothers demand a hurried trip down the aisle, he has no choice but to comply. He thinks he can forget about his inconvenient bride but Esme Byron is no ordinary woman and Gabriel is about to learn just how unforgettable she can be.

*covers link to Amazon

Challenges: Pick Your Genre (historical) | Goodreads

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