This book ended up not being at all what I was expecting. And you know something? I kinda liked it.
The Marquess of Beningbrough is a stand-up, straight-laced kinda of guy who has had to go above and beyond to prove his masculinity amid whispers of his father’s scandalous homosexual desires. After years of putting up with taunts he’s become cold and detached. Until he meets Barbara Jeffords, the elder sister to the woman his cousin is intending to marry. She’s bold where her sister is timid, hearty where her sister is whispy, and whip sharp smart. She’s trouble and he has no desire to get entangled with her. Or any woman for that matter.
Barbara isn’t looking for a husband. When Beningbrough, “Ben,” shows up with her future brother -in-law in tow she’s intrigued in the way any woman would be when a handsome man walks in. When a footman is murdered later that evening, and Ben’s cousin takes the rap for it, the two of them are skeptical. They team up to try to find out what’s going on and in the process they end up discovering more about themselves they ever dreamed.
When I first read the premise of this book I was expecting a typical fluffy regency romance. We get a dose of that in A Tryst with Trouble, but we also get much more. Our headstrong heroine is stubborn but not abrasive. Ben puts up a great facade of ice but underneath he’s just as fiery as Barbara. They are two people who have been manipulated by those around them, forced to conform or rise above what society has expected of them. When they come together we get an interesting dose of headbutting. At the same time, both are in a state of self-denial of their attraction, and it makes for some fairly humorous encounters. There are moments I found myself smiling at the silliness. Parts of the plot felt a bit shaky – their whirlwind romance had them falling in love in a matter of days (but really what’s new about that in a regency romance?), and Ben’s over-exaggeration to Barbara about his masculinity but overall I really, really enjoyed following along on these two’s story. There wasn’t too much raunch in this one, and that was fine and well by me.
I’ll definitely be looking forward to Ms. Everett’s future work, excited to see how her writing style expands and grows.
A Tryst with Trouble by Alyssa Everett, 304 pgs, 4/1/12
Romance: 3/5 Raunch: 2/5