ARC Review: Romancing His English Rose

Romancing His English Rose

Author: Catherine Hemmering
Publisher: Entangled/Scandalous
Date of Publication: September 9, 2013

RoseRose Warren and Simon Trumbull may have been betrothed since birth, but that doesn’t mean they have to like each other. Rose is sure the notorious playboy Simon will never willingly settle down, and Simon, well… he agrees. Never one to be forced into anything, he’d rather drink and gamble with his mates than spend time with the bookish, bespectacled Rose.

When the two are thrown together to investigate a potential poisoning mystery, neither expects the sparks that fly. Simon discovers that Rose is, in face, a brilliant sleuth and – even better – hides a delectable body beneath her flowing skirts. Suddenly, falling into bed may be the best idea either has heard, but can Simon convince Rose his romancing is forever?

My Thoughts:

I had pretty high hopes going in reading this book. I’ve had fabulous luck when it comes to Entangled books. Unfortunately, it did not live up to my hopes. It wasn’t a bad book, mind you, just not a great one.

Rose is uber-smart and not afraid to let people know it. She wears glasses, loves to read, and has an eidetic memory which comes in very handy. Almost too handy, to my mind. She’s nutso over Simon, and has known her entire life that she would marry him, thus letting herself feel strongly for him though she barely sees him from the time she’s a child until she’s 19 and ready to get married.

Simon, understandably, resents the heck out of his parents (and Rose) for betrothing him when he’s only 10 years old. Seriously, what boy would like to know he has no choice in his future spouse? And of course he lived his life on the assumption he’d marry her out of friendship…some day. But he very much didn’t want her to make the mistake of thinking it could be anything more than a society marriage with nothing more than mild friendship/affection.

Of course life doesn’t work out the way they intended. Simon gets a case of insta-lust that quickly turns to love. They have a mystery to solve, though they think they know the answer from almost the get-go. There’s a question of will they get caught before the villain catches them, and a few moments fraught with tension.

All that told, I really didn’t find the book better than mediocre and here’s my reasons why:

1. We’re in the 19th century, not the 21st. From the description, Rose is dressed all pretty and fruffy for a wedding, including family pearls, etc. She then attends a wedding in London and then, from the vague description, arrives in Gretna Green that same day. London is 320+ miles from Gretna. Either the author failed to make it clear she traveled that distance over a period of time (why, then, did her mother get her dressed in clothes appropriate to a bride if she was traveling for a week+?), or the author somehow thought they could dash up to Gretna in a single day? Either way, this really yanked me out of the book.

2. Rose’s shyness. I get that she’s shy, I really do. But it seems to be a very convenient shyness. She has little problem talking up at the meetings of the Garden Society, or racing off to talk to Dr. Orfila, yet everyone goes out of their way so she doesn’t have to have a wedding in front of anyone other than her parents and Simon’s parents.

3. The succession. Why, oh why, was Simon so very shocked at the succession of the Shrewsbury title? Why was Rose? These people live and breathe the aristocracy. How did they not get it would move where it did?

4. At places, it felt like the author was giving a lecture entitled “This is what the Regency Period is like, look what I learned”, and we got a lesson in the period. This showed up at least twice, one of those times being the succession, the other being the story of Gretna Green. C’mon, we read Regencies. We know how these things work without them being spelled out in explicit detail. It didn’t even get told in conversation…just dumped in the book.

5. Simon goes from “Oh, I never want her to think of me as anything more than a friend and once we have the obligatory heir, no further time need be spent together” to “Oh, I love her and never want to have anything less than a love match” in almost no time at all. THere’s no gradual change in his feelings, just POOF.

While the book itself wasn’t bad, it wasn’t great. I’m sure I’ll give Ms. Hemmerling another look, and I certainly will continue to love on Entangled’s books.  Keep in mind, this is simply my  opinion, and not necessarily how anyone else will see things.

Thank you Entangled! Thank you Ms. Hemmerling!

This book provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


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