Dear Mrs. Moore,
After I had read “A Lover’s Kiss,” I fell in love with the secondary character of Lord “Buggy” Bromwell, friend to the hero of that book and the ones that preceded it. So when I checked out the August Harlequin Historical releases and realized that this was Buggy’s book, I pounced.
Justinian “Buggy” Bromwell never expected to meet the love of his life in a mail coach traveling from London to Bath. Just as Nell Springely didn’t expect to find her heart’s delight with a man who adores spiders. Still that’s what happens among other things including impersonation of a noblewoman, standing up to one’s parents, fending off nasty, brutish noblemen and traveling around the world in the name of scientific exploration.
Oh, this book started off so well. Buggy and Nell meet and have instant feelings for each other though neither one intends that these feeling should go any further. Nell plays her role of being Lady Eleanor, daughter of a Duke, though she eventually fesses up to Buggy and his mother instead of letting things continue until the end of the book. Buggy’s father eventually comes around and tells his son how proud he is of him, of the book Buggy wrote based on his last expedition and agrees to Buggy marrying a woman of no rank or fortune. And even the real Lady Eleanor doesn’t mind the fact that Nell used her name. We also get updates on Drury and his wife Juliette as well as their friends.
Yet as the book progressed, many of my “oh dear” buttons kept getting pressed. What starts as old, family retainers telling Nell all about Buggy as a young boy turns into servants apparently not turning a hair to find their master’s son in compromising circumstances with a young woman who is not his wife. Buggy and Nell almost trip over each other in their race to outdo each other in Noble Selflessness to the Point of Idiocy. Drury seems to have turned into a mushy, love-besotted husband while Juliette spills her innermost secrets to a woman she’s just met. A noblewoman threatens to leave her husband and, in front of non-family members, tells the reason why. And then there’s the last chapter and epilogue which drag in almost every past leading character in a flood of syrupy excess.
I wanted to love this book. I wanted to give it a sterling grade. Really, I did. But I just can’t. I’m sure readers who want to catch up on these past characters will want to check it out, as I wanted to because of Buggy. And I hope they enjoy it more than I did. Because for me, it’s a C.