USA Today bestselling author Charlie Lane traded in academic databases and scholarly journals for writing steamy Regency romcoms like the ones she’s always loved to read. Her favorite authors are Jane Austen (who else?), Toni Morrison, William Blake, Julia Quinn, and Maya Rodale.
I am a sucker for a Brute, and Xavier, Lord Flint is indeed the most lovable of them all once you peel back his layers. A true enemies to lovers rivalry filled with all the bitter angst, taunting words and secret glances. You can feel the tension between these two at every meeting, the air crackles with it. Sarah is a bold, fierce woman, a true queen even if she doesn’t see it. Xavier is a complete brute with a heart of gold and insecurities enough to fill an ocean. He strives to be a better man, thinking that means giving up all thrill. Sarah longs to live a life helping others despite being only a woman. These two teach each other to see their own inner worth and that journey is magnificent. Their animosity for each other often leaves them angry, but what is anger if not an overflow of passion. And boy do they have passion! The excitement of the dares, and the secret growing feelings makes this story a true rollercoaster of emotions. The burst of exhilaration, the drop of your heart off a cliff, the pure adrenaline rush.. I laughed, I cried, I was overjoyed. The only downside to this story comes after the end with the line “ This was the final installment of this series.”. I am not ready to say goodbye, and indeed the story even admits this should not be the end. “ Another round of daring debutantes not yet wed when society clearly needed them off the streets.” - so more stories can be found in Abigail & Georgiana… You said it yourself Charlie Lane. I dare you!
I received an ARC of this book from Wolf Publishing. Charlie Lane has become one of my favorite authors and this book was a pure delight. Lady Sarah Hampton and Lord Xavier Flint have been at loggerheads for all of their lives. As children, Sarah was friends with Edith, Xavier’s younger sister (from Only Rakes Would Dare), and he made no secret of how little he thought of her. In fact, he was a downright brute, insulting and belittling her to no end. Unfortunately, she internalized his insults and believed them.
Meanwhile, Xavier has his own reasons for being so mean to Sarah. They’re not good ones, but he admits he did so because he hated himself and she made him aware of his own flaws. Subconsciously, he thought that pointing out her flaws would make him feel better about his own. It takes him a long time to admit to himself that he actually admires her and wants to be with her. Of course, nothing can ever be that simple, but eventually, they get there.
This is a story about two people who think they’re not worthy of love, and who believe that the other person is too good for them. Both have lost their mothers, and there’s no doubt that being motherless is deeply affecting. Each must find a way to convince the other that they are lovable and deserving of that love. I have only one complaint. Hopefully, another ARC reader pointed it out and it was fixed prior to publication, but since it was there when I read it, I’m pointing it out. In Chapter 16, Sarah talks about how she has no memories of her mother, but shortly thereafter, she says, “...Mother did often remind me of that.” I was disappointed that an obvious inconsistency like that was missed.
I always highlight my favorite parts of books and this one has many highlights. I’ll end with a few:
“She had stopped breathing the moment his nose touched her cheek, and she tried hard to start back up again, but then his lips lightly dragged along the edge of her jaw, and truly, who needed breath?”
“...putting true emotion, deep as a well and just as vital, into language felt like falling on sharp rocks.”
“...she came to him like wine into a cup, spilling easily into his every corner.”
“The moon lay in slashes on the ground, tangling in the tree branches above to cast eerie shadows everywhere.”
This is the fourth book in the Debutante Dare Series by Charlie Lane and once again she has written an amazing story. Lady Edith Evans was introduced in the last book for her outlandish behavior for trying to seduce Lord Escher who she thought she loved but was in love with someone else. I was looking forward to her story since I found her to be a unique and interesting character.
Griffin, Lord Eastern, comes across as cold and shows little emotion, he is handsome, and needs to find a wife to restore his family name. There are reasons for Griffin’s coldness but can he overcome how he has behaved his entire life to find love? His father is dying, and has demanded he find a wife that will help repair the family name, someone who is above reproach. Lady Edith’s father has insisted she marry within a year or he will find a husband for her.
Griffin assists Edith when a friend of her brother behaves badly. She finds herself drawn to Griffin as they talk and proposes that they pretend they are betrothed. This was the plan to give him additional time to find the right lady to marry and protect her from unwanted attentions.
They know they are not suited but as they spent time together it just feels right. I found myself feeling the emotions Griffin was experiencing as he finally realizes he is nothing like his father and opens up to the possibility of a future with Edith. Edith was so refreshing she didn’t care what people thought, was opinionated, smart and just wanted someone to see her as she truly is and to love her for being herself.
I have read every story in this series but this one truly resonated with me. It held my interest until the very last page. The characters were experiencing so many emotions and I felt them too. I found myself laughing, hoping and praying that Griffin be true to himself and Edith finally gets the love she deserves.
I voluntarily reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy of this book from Wolf publishing.
A beautiful enemies-to-lovers Regency romance. I was engaged by every page, Xavier and Sarah make a great couple daring all the way to love. Full of character and a wonderfully written story.