Series: Essex Sisters #2
Published by HarperCollins on December 13th 2005
“The day the Scotsman came to Lady Feddrington’s ball, Annabel’s sister decided to give him her virtue, and Annabel decided not to give him her hand in marriage.”
FINAL DECISION: I enjoyed this book much more than the first in the series. Ewan, the hero, is sexy and sweet and just my type of catnip. I’m fond of the roadtrip romance in this book.
THE STORY: Annabel Essex, the second of four sisters, knows her requirements for a husband: he will be rich and English. After living impoverished in Scotland with her horse mad father, Annabel knows that she can use her feminine attributes to snare the perfect mate. On the verge of achieving her goal, Annabel ends up in a compromising situation with Ewan, Earl of Ardmore which forces them to marry. Ardmore is not the man Annabel wants to marry, he is Scottish and impoverished, in London searching for an heiress wife. Rather than marrying in London, the two agree to wait until they arrive in Scotland to marry. On the trip to Scotland, the two pretend to be married while exchanging only 10 kisses a day — until they begin to want more.
OPINION: I found this book very appealing primarily because I absolutely loved the hero, Ewan. Ewan comes to London searching for a bride. He immediately is attracted to Annabel and tries to woo her although she has no intention of falling for an impoverished earl. Ewan is incredibly sexy, sweet and immensely kind. When he is propositioned by Annabel’s grieving younger sister, Ewan recognizes her pain and his impulse is to care for her rather than to take advantage. Ewan has morals that come from his convictions rather than societal convention. His struggles with his own moral code and his attraction to Annabel is gentle and sweet. I absolutely adored this Scotsman.
I even ended up liking Annabel when I didn’t expect to at first. Despite her mercenary view of marriage, I came to understand and sympathize with her. What turned me toward her was her concern for ruining Ewan’s plans for marriage when they are forced to wed. Those thoughts and her intent to make the best of the situation made me see her as more complicated than I expected.
The courtship between Annabel and Ewan was quite lovable as the two had 10 kisses a day but could get more if they honestly answered questions. That brought the relationship some depth and intellectual connection. These two ended up knowing one another very well by the time they consummated their relationship. Their courtship was unorthodox but clearly brought these two closer in a sweet and tender way.
My only complaint is that once again it took a while for the romance to actually start. Both the first book and this one had a lot of confusion with the sisters and the hero until the actual romance began. I quickly tired of that. Luckily that portion was shorter in this book.
WORTH MENTIONING: The book has a bit of the Taming of the Shrew vibe, but it is Ewan who ends up tamed.
CONNECTED BOOKS: KISS ME, ANNABEL is the second book in the Essex Sisters series. It can be read as a standalone although there are overarching relationships that involve all the books.
STAR RATING: I give this book 4 stars.