Lady Lydia Rothermere has spent the past decade trying to make up for a single, youthful moment of passion. Now the image of propriety, Lydia knows her future rests on never straying outside society’s rigid rules, but hiding away the desire that runs through her is harder than she could have ever dreamed. And as she prepares for a marriage that will suit her family, but not her heart, Lydia must decide what’s more important: propriety or passion?
Simon Metcalf is a rake and adventurer. But for all his experience, nothing can compare to the kiss he stole from the captivating Lydia Rothermere ten years ago. Simon can scarcely believe he’s about to lose the one woman he’s never forgotten. The attraction between them is irresistible, yet Lydia refuses to forsake her engagement. With his heart on the line, will Simon prove that love is a risk worth taking?
I have to say right from the start that I am not a really big fan of novellas. Now that’s not to say that I haven’t found many novellas to be highly entertaining and enjoyable. It’s just not a literary format that appeals greatly. Too short many times, with hurried conclusions or underdeveloped plots or characters. Novellas take lots of talents. It’s like preparing a public speech: It takes twice as long to prepare for saying half as much. Yet in this new novella there is lots to like.
It’s a romance that is old as well as new. Lydia and Simon have walked the romance road before and Simon would like to go down that path again. Lydia, on the other hand, found that earlier romantic encounter to be embarrassing and humiliating, and has how spent a decade training herself to be proper in all the ways that count and which meet the exacting standards of a society that spends a great deal too much time poking noses where they shouldn’t. Yes, there’s lots of struggle, lots of going back and forth, lots of weighing pros and cons–family approval vs following one’s own heart. But all that aside, it is a compelling story that does what it sets out to do and even brings the reader “up to snuff” with the background characters in the story. For those like me who hadn’t read book one in the series, this was an important factor in figuring out what was going on. I have great respect for authors who can do that with an economy of words and still maintain the integrity of the primary plot and story line.
All in all, it is a very entertaining novella and one that certainly fleshes out the lives and experiences of the characters in this series and prepares the reader for the second full novel in this series. I have not read an Anna Campbell book for quite some time so was delighted to reacquaint myself with her writing style and her storytelling abilities. Lastly, I appreciated the fact that there was no sense that the story ended in a hurried fashion. It all came together just fine without seeming to be contrived or put together simply because it was time to end the tale. Another indication that the author had good command of the literary format. Anyone who has read book one will appreciate this novella, quite possibly more than some of us who had not met these characters previously. But it is a story that will adequately introduce a reader to this series of books and I look forward to reading book two.
I give this novella a rating of 4 out of 5.
You can read more from Judith at Dr J’s Book Place.