Sourcebooks Casablanca, $7.99, ISBN 978-1-4926-2162-1
Historical Romance, 2017
Sebastian Gresham and Georgiana Stane are in love. They are going to get married. But hold the confetti: he is now going to meet her reclusive parents.
She is worried: her mother is obsessed with raising pugs while her father is obsessed with reincarnation, and the two of them avoid Society just as they are ignored in turn because they are so… eccentric. Georgiana also realizes, now that she is so close to being the wife of her beloved, that she is also expected to bring her sisters out to Society, and these two brats are in as many ways as unorthodox as the parents. What if her family drive George away? What if, what if… oh my god.
He is worried. You see, Lord Sebastian’s Secret refers to the fact that he can’t read or write. We know he has dyslexia, but of course he doesn’t know that. Instead, Sebastian has accepted long ago that he’s the dumb one of the family. Normally, this doesn’t deter him, but the thought of his wife and her family finding out begin to get to him. Also, he is taken aback by how unorthodox her family is, and that’s not all. From being stalked and harassed by an army of pugs to having to deal with what seems like an entire neighborhood of crazies, he’s going to have a fun time indeed with his in-laws to be.
Yes, as you can see, this one isn’t a typical romance novel. The hero and the heroine are almost there to the finish line, and all that’s left now is to meet the parents, groan. If you’re wondering why Sebastian hasn’t met his future in-laws, it’s because they stayed behind and let Georgiana make her debut under the care of an aunt. Interestingly, Sebastian initially pursued Georgiana because of her dowry, only to later fall in love with her intelligence and no-nonsense nature. As for her, she’s actually settling for true love, so to speak, as she turned down an offer from an earl for someone who may be blue-blooded but isn’t going to inherit anything soon short of a calamity taking the lives of his older brothers. And he knows that she could have had picked any of the more well-titled blokes in town, so he’s grateful for that. Really, these two are a fun couple, but their romance is already set in stone, so this is a story that is powered by eccentric parents, brats gone wild, and other types of shenanigans.
And that’s the problem I have with this one. The first third of this book is so delightful to read because of the likable, adorable main characters and the author’s delightful way with witty banter. But by the second third of the book, I’m beginning to tire of the non-stop foolishness running rampant, and I cringe when the bratty sisters act up and almost brought great harm to the hero and heroine. By the late third, I’m exhausted, and I only groan as the author brings in everything from reincarnation spells to past live dreams, to the governess acting like she’s some Incan priestess or something to… to… I’m just tired. What started out as fun has long bled into a never ending marathon of douchebags and spoiled brats behaving badly without having to face the consequences of their antics. By the time the poor hero’s secret finally comes out, I can only go, “Finally! Can everyone get lost now?”
I really like Georgiana and Sebastian, and there are some genuinely funny moments here. I just wish the length had been slashed by half, so that there is just enough tomfoolery before the story ends on a high note. In its current length, it’s just silliness going on, and on, and on, and on until I want to scream.