Thursday, July 6, 2017

Review: Seven Minutes in Heaven by Eloisa James

If you want me to swoon, include witty banter in your book. It doesn't matter what kind of book it is, just include the banter. Of course, it certainly helps romances in particular when there's an intelligent, strong heroine but sometimes creating such a woman can be hard while still staying true to historical realities. But Eloisa James always manages to create worthwhile heroines in her Regency set historical romances like Seven Minutes in Heaven, the latest in the Desperate Duchesses series.

Eugenia Snowe is a widow. Although she is the daughter of a marquis, after the death of her beloved young husband Andrew 7 years prior, she turned to work to keep herself busy. Eugenia runs the exclusive and discreet Snowe's Registry Office for Select Governesses and her governesses are highly sought after in all the best homes. She herself is businesslike and circumspect and she has a real knack for business, pairing each family on her books with the perfect governess. Somehow she has not managed to land on the right governess for Edward Reeve's half sister and brother though. Ward is trying to keep guardianship of his young half siblings away from his tyrannical, unpleasant grandmother and having the proper governess working with the children would certainly go some way to taking one of her arguments away from her. When the latest Snowe-provided governess quits, Ward determines that Eugenia herself would be the perfect governess and "kidnaps" her (she goes most willingly so it's hardly a kidnapping). Ward, a rich inventor, is the illegitimate son of an earl and is cognizant of what society will expect of his half-siblings so although he is incredibly attracted to Eugenia, he guards against a real attachment, believing her to not be a member of the nobility. Meanwhile, Eugenia is falling in love with Lizzie and Otis, the children in question, and she is feeling a sexual attraction for the first time in 7 years even as she finds it hard to accept this sign that she is moving on from the grief and loneliness that has colored her world for so long.

Eugenia and Ward sizzle when they are together. They flirt and spar almost from the first moment they meet and their quick intelligence is great fun. The misunderstanding that keeps them apart, ie Ward's belief that Eugenia is not noble, is a bit far fetched given that everyone else and their grandmother knows her whole history but without the misunderstanding, there's no reason for them to ever be apart. While Ward was illegitimate, both of his parents were noble themselves so he would have had a similar understanding of who was noble as his contemporaries do and would surely have known of Eugenia's family. If he didn't hear of her husband's drowning at the time, he would have heard of it once he looked to Snowe's Registry for the children. The children, with their odd quirks and strange interests, Lizzie wearing mourning and dissecting rabbits and Otis with his quick mathematical mind and his pet rat Jarvis, are delightful and much more entertaining than children in novels generally are and it is easy to see how Eugenia warms to them and wants them to have love and stability in their lives. Although Ward, with his occasional bouts of condescension and priggishness, is not nearly as likable as Eugenia, they are still a well-matched couple and James once again delivers for her readers.

1 comment:

  1. I haven't read a James in a while -- I'll have to keep an eye out for this one because I do like her books.


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