Eliza Hammond wants a husband and she’s not after much–just a nice man who will give her children and not squander away her fortune, newly acquired upon her aunt’s recent passing. But after four Seasons as a wallflower, her list of potential husbands isn’t exactly teeming with candidates. Cross off the fortune hunters, womanisers and those who bat for the other team, and well … prospects do seem rather grim.
Kit Winter is Eliza’s best friend’s brother-in-law and the type of man who has no trouble getting on with people. He agrees to mentor Eliza in the finer arts of social interaction and act as intermediary against fortune hunters and other unsuitable bachelors.
Eliza has always carried a tendre for Kit. He, on the other hand, has never noticed her “that way” until she undergoes an Extreme Makeover. But when their lessons in conversation develop into more … intimate instructions, can Eliza settle for anything less than his love? And will Kit recognise what his heart is telling him before it’s too late?
And other stuff
A jealous cousin, a book of dirty pictures, a yummy love rival.
God, I suck at summaries.
Things that made me go, Mmm…
- I love the whole wallflower-turned-belle-of-the-ball premise. Even better, Eliza’s transformation isn’t just external–we see her becoming more confident in her own skin with Kit’s help. He’s rarely overbearing (except for the piano scene–I thought that could have been handled more deftly) and we see the friendship, as well as the sexual attraction, blossoming between them.
- It was great to see Eliza becoming progressively more assertive and building on her social successes rather than arbitrarily backsliding into a stammering ninny as sometimes happens with these kinds of scenarios. At the same time, she doesn’t become overly brazen and out of character–at the end of the book, she’s still basically the same sweet, slightly shy girl just with fewer hang-ups.
- I’m also a sucker for the shy, geeky heroine who manages to find a moment of courage to seduce the hottie she’s been secretly pining for all those years. Or, at least, ask for a kiss.
“What is this I hear?” Kit interrupted, striding into the salon. “Do I understand correctly that Maplewood paid an unexpected call upon Eliza his morning?”…His gaze flew to Eliza. “What did he want?”
Was that anxiety she read on his face, or was it only her own wishful thinking? Eliza wondered. She drew a breath and unconsciously straightened her shoulders. “He asked me to marry him.”
“Did he?” A scowl creased Kit’s dark brows in a way that made her glad.
“I did not accept,” she added in a soft voice.
For a long moment he stared, a glimmer of an emotion she could not interpret flickering inside his eyes. Then he gave a nod. “I should think not. No cause to take the first fellow who comes up to scratch, don’t you agree…?”
Things that made me go, Huh?
- The villain is too much of a caricature, and he just kind of pops in and out when convenient. I thought Warren could afford to have been more subtle and given the reader better motives for the villain to act the way he does.
- The slightly juvenile way that Kit and Eliza set up their assignations. Let’s meet at the library. Oooh! It was like reading about a midnight rendezvous at a year 12 retreat. (Not that I ever had one of those, mind you. I’m just saying.)
- The lightbulb moment when Kit decides he loves Eliza. But this is a pet peeve of mine. I’m of the opinion that falling in love should be gradual (at first sight works, but there has to be a gradual realisation of WHY the characters love each other). I could see where Warren tries to hint at this for Kit, but I think she was too subtle. For most of the novel, Kit finds himself feeling jealous but never really questions why. It seemed a little silly to me–at the very least, they were wasted opportunities for some spine-tingling moments of self-awareness on Kit’s part.
- The fact the Eliza turns down Kit’s first proposal of marriage. WTF? I think there are a few paragraphs on why she couldn’t BEAR to live with him without his complete love and adoration, but it seemed hypocritical that she would then accept Brevard’s proposal when he clearly loves her and she doesn’t love him at all. I wanted her to have a little more backbone and, I don’t know, do something to fight for Kit and show him what he’s missing out on, rather than settling for the next best thing.
Things that made me go, Argh!
- The ending is wrapped up too quickly and too neatly. The villain doesn’t get his just desserts. At the very least, he should have been escorted to a ship bound for foreign lands, not trusted to go and keep his promise to get lost.
- There’s no justice for the love rival. He gets dumped in public! I was glad he gets a punch in, but it would have been nice if Eliza could have at least spoken to him in private first. I thought he was treated very shabbily indeed.
A lovely, comfortable read. Nothing really surprising in the plot, but the heroine is sweet and there are some lovely, tender and funny moments between Kit and Eliza.
Note: This post was originally published on April 10, 2007.
Where you can buy this book
AUSTRALIA: Dymocks | Ever After | Galaxy | Intrigue | Rendezvous | Romance Direct | Romantic Reflections | Siren | More (no online catalogue) Psst … where are these stores?
DIGITAL BOOKS: Dymocks | Amazon Kindle
WORLDWIDE: Amazon US | Amazon UK