I fell in love with this cover. Ain’t it purty? Then I fell for the premise – a regency romance set in…wait for it…SOUTH AFRICA? Score. What I got was a gritty and at times uncomfortable not-so-fluffy romance story between a husband and wife that reluctantly come together for somewhat nefarious reasons. Though of course, things don’t go quite the way they plan. I very much enjoyed this book. It had a realistic emotional toil for me that rang true.
The characters are as flawed as the stones they pull from the ground. Miles Durham, our hero, is, to be blunt, an overindulgent nihilistic ass. His wife of an arranged marriage, Vivienne, left him a year prior, and Miles takes it upon himself to get her back so he can rebuild their relationship. And then leave her. You know how it goes – a typical revenge scheme, eh? Vivienne, on the other hand, has grown up in the year of her separation from her husband. She’s resolved not to fall prey to his baited retorts and actions, and she’s committed to finding herself stability at just about any cost. When Vivienne’s father bequeaths her the task of rescuing his struggling diamond firm in South Africa, she accepts the challenge. She’s stunned when upon arriving she’s faced with her estranged husband. Miles has taken it upon himself to get a head start on Viv’s family legacy and his own personal goals. They come to something of an agreement. After all, they both benefit if Vivienne can make her father’s firm successful. What neither of them count on is genuinely falling in love with one another.
Miles and Viv’s story isn’t pretty. They both have some pretty serious emotional baggage to sort through. Miles’s behavior and treatment is a constant haunt to Vivienne, which gives her some pretty serious trust issues. But then again, Miles really is an ass. Or at least was. It’s a joy to watch Miles find a purpose to his life, and with it a reason to stick with his resolution to avoid gambling and drinking.
I very much enjoyed these two’s story. The setting of South Africa is a breath of breath of fresh air in a regency romance, though it isn’t necessarily pretty. In fact, it’s at times downright brutal. I personally appreciated it.
If you’re considering checking out regency romance and are looking for something with more substance than fluff, I’d recommend Flawless by Carrie Lofty.
Flawless by Carrie Lofty, 416 pgs, 9/27/11
Romance: 3/5 Raunch: 3/5