I really like a heroine who knows her own mind, and luckily, Regency romance provides me with a fair few young ladies with interests outside catching a husband…
Book: Believe in Me by Ella Quinn
Read before: No
Ownership: E-ARC provided free of charge through NetGalley for fair review. All opinions my own.
Believe in Me is the fourth book in this series, but as with most historical romance, you don’t really need to read them in any order, as each story is fairly self-contained. This is the story of Augusta, a woman who loves learning, especially geography, and who is determined not to be trapped into a marriage that would force her to settle down and give up her dreams of attending university in Padua (the only university that would even think of admitting a woman!). Our hero, Phineas (Phinn) needs a wife – but he’s fallen for Augusta, and will have to convince her that marriage doesn’t mean the end of her dreams.
I really liked that Phinn fell unashamedly and wholeheartedly for Augusta very early on in the book, and thus the story was not one where the characters dithered about not recognising their attraction, but rather, it focused on Phinn helping Augusta to achieve her goals in order to simply make her happy. This allowed her time to realise that having a husband wouldn’t ruin her life, and of course, once she realises that, she’s able to realise that there’s a perfect man waiting for her… The romance is a fairly slow burn, and it’s fun to watch the other characters feeling like they want to knock Augusta and Phinn’s heads together. I imagine them pushing them together like ‘now KISS’!
I really enjoyed the look at different places in Europe – so often we’re limited to London, or to a country estate, and you never really think much about the continent other than the occasional mention of Napoleon. Here, we got to see a lot of the practicalities of travel. I did think that the travelling sections were a little bit over-done, perhaps as part of Augusta’s bluestocking nature – it did feel rather as if the author was showing off her research rather than getting on with the story. But, it worked in allowing some unusual situations to crop up in which our love interests could be alone together, with more freedom than if they’d been in London.
I enjoyed this one! I liked that the author had made an effort to break out of the formulaic patterns you see so often, and that Phinn and Augusta were both fairly unusual main characters. It gets rather silly towards the end, but the Happy Ever After put a smile on my face, and it’s a lot of fluffy fun. Four out of five cats.