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WhiskeyintheJar Romance

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Guest Reviewer at:  Reading Between the Wines book club

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"She thought it over, but couldn’t see any immediate loopholes other than the threat of her inner slut emerging, and she could darned well control that little bitch."— Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Scandalous Summer Nights by Anne Barton

Scandalous Summer Nights - Anne  Barton

 

 

****Full Review****

 

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review

Lady Olivia is the sister to a Duke who is friends with and employees Mr. James Averill as his solicitor. James and Olivia have been friends for a while but Olivia has harbored a secret for just as long; she loves James. As she is older now, Olivia hopes James will see her as more than just "the little sister". With James set to begin an archeological expedition in a couple weeks to Egypt for two years, Olivia decides it is now or never to make her move. She clandestinely follows James to the countryside for a chance at grasping her dream. As truths get revealed, class roles are tested, and love grows, Olivia and James learn who they truly are and want out of life.
 
This story delves in right away and I enjoyed that as it was engaging and exciting. This is part of a series but I definitely think it can be read as a standalone as the only thing I missed was how Olivia's brother Owen came to marry his wife; will be going back to read that one! The base of this story is Olivia believing she is in love with James and wanting to marry him. I liked how real James was with Olivia in the beginning, he recognized how the difference in their social classes could be a very real impediment. He never talks down to her but remarks how she has never had to want for anything in her life and maybe she doesn't quite understand what being married to a solicitor would entail. While Olivia does have her moments of being selfish and immature, she also knows pain and refuses to be dismissed so easily. I would have liked for the book to explore their class differences more but understand stories like this aren't really concerned about realism for it might get in the way of the fairy tale and I can certainly forgive that.
 
There is an ease to James and Olivia's dialogue and interactions that make reading about their relationship so pleasant. Olivia is forthright and brave with just enough of a hint of vulnerability to make you want to squeeze her hand as she faces the challenge of James. James has locked a bit of himself away for protection which stems from issues regarding his younger brother but finds he comes fully alive in Olivia's presence. It is when they are together and challenging each other that they develop to their full potential; Olivia realizes that she is capable of being more than James' wife and James learns that connections with people are what life is really about. The biggest problem I had with this book was towards the end when Olivia acts a bit out of character and runs away to solve a problem. This conflict was unnecessary dramatics and then resolved too quickly and easily with what felt like a shrug and hug. It seemed like the author felt there wasn't enough angst but the characters and story she crafted didn't work because of angst but rather their fun charm.
 
I was pleasantly surprised at how funny, charming, and sexy James and Olivia's relationship and intimate scenes were. Scandalous Summer Nights is a light regency read that will appeal to and please many a reader. I also can't wait for Olivia's quiet sister Rose to get her story with Charles the stablehand.