Rating: 2.5 Stars ★★★☆☆
Under normal circumstances, Miss Jane Downing would have been eager to alight from a chilly carriage and rush indoors for a welcome respite from the brutal winter.
Captain Xavier Grey’s body is back amongst the Beau Monde, but his mind cannot break free from the horrors of war. His friends try to help him find peace. He knows he doesn’t deserve it. Just like he doesn’t deserve the attentions of the sultry bluestocking intent on seducing him into bed…
Spinster Jane Downing wants off the shelf and into the arms of a hot-blooded man. Specifically, the dark and dangerous Captain Grey. She may not be destined to be his wife, but nothing will stop her from being his mistress. She could quote classical Greek by the age of four. How hard can it be to learn the language of love?
Can we talk about that cover for a second? It is absolutely ridiculous. It has nothing to do whatsoever with the characters described in this book.
Jane is a spinster (she’s twenty-four, after all) and, according to her peers, too obsessed with books. She glides through society events without being noticed by anyone. People forget her face as soon as she’s out of their sight.
And then there’s the Captain. He’s good-looking, considered a hero – and haunted by what he has done during the war. He feels undeserving of attention, let alone love.
He should be far, far away. Not staring at her long, shimmering hair or imagining the feel of those voluptuous curves beneath his hands. Her untouched innocence attracted him as viscerally as her beauty. He looked away. She was not for him.
Jane decides that, because she’ll be a spinster all her life, she’d better get all of it she can and so she decides to take the Captain as her lover. She shows up at his cottage in the middle of a snowstorm, determined to seduce him.
It’s a bit of a ridiculous premise, but it was fun to read. I liked Jane. She is very naive (I mean, she admires courtesans because she thinks they can choose their lovers and lead a charming life), but she knows what she wants and goes and gets it.
Miss Downing was the very embodiment of innocent and purity. “I’m afraid I don’t follow. Are you claiming you’re not a chaste young lady in possession of a pristine reputation?”
“Of course I am. But I don’t wish to be.” She set down her teacup and bit her lip. “Might I be your mistress?”
The main problem I had with the book were the endless repetitions. I mean, how often do we really have to read about her being a bluestocking (every couple of sentences), him being an ex-soldier (ditto), she thinking herself plump and him thinking himself not worthy of anyone?
Still, despite its flaws, it was a fun and quick read.
A quirky, fun read, though a bit ridiculous at times.