I was in the mood for a historical romance, and this one sparked my curiosity because it’s a sweet version of a sensual romance transformed by a mother-daughter team. I read romance at all levels, but especially with historicals, the sweet novels often have more space for the feel of the place. Now I want to read the sensual version to see what changed, but I never felt like there were things missing from the story.
The emotional tension between the Amethyst and Colin could have been stronger. I could feel the tension in other, non-romantic, circumstances, so it wasn’t a question of writing ability, but that’s a mild issue in a book I enjoyed very much.
The blend of historical elements with the Great London Fire and the odd circumstances of King Charles’ return to England strengthened the story. What happened during and after the fire showed the type of people Amy had around her and the character of her newfound family. The same was true with the king, revealed in glimpses of court and during processions. History also affected the social conventions as Colin had the king’s ear for all he chose not to use it to his benefit until forced.
Colin was definitely an unusual sort of an earl, so it makes sense he fell for an unusual jeweler. He’d earned his title by being a friend to King Charles during the years in exile when he had none as a second son. Even better, those differences came to play a part in the story because standing didn’t equate to wealth or calling.
Their marriage came a bit earlier than I expected, but in the focus on them, I’d forgotten another part of their story that needed resolution. There’s an element of not talking to each other involved, and they required outside intervention to start seeing the truth, but the reasons were clear, and I enjoyed how things worked out. Amy and Colin married before they truly understood each other beyond instinctive attraction, something that later events made possible. Contradicting my earlier concern, when they came together in spirit as well as desire, I felt the emotion on the page.
I’m trying to keep away from the crucial details so you can experience the story unfold, but I will say it had more levels than originally apparent. The novel gave a good sense of the times and the cost of breaking the rules as well.
The characters, whether historical figure cameos or members of the Chase family, felt rich with specifics and opinions. The friendship that grows between Kendra (Colin’s little sister) and Amy is wonderful, with both emotional and humorous moments. Then there’s Colin’s love of history and how he makes the damaged castles come to life as another example where many more remain.
If you enjoy fiction that gives you a glimpse into the past with characters you want to spend time with, I think The Earl’s Unsuitable Bride will serve nicely.