I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Published by Loveswept on January 19th 2016
Genres: Fiction, General, Historical, Romance
Buy on Amazon, iBooks, Kobo, Publisher
If you love Mary Balogh and Eloisa James, don’t miss Pamela Labud’s sensuous Hunt Club series! To Catch a Lady introduces four lordly, rakish sportsmen whose bachelor paradise is threatened by a matchmaking aunt—and by the sting of unexpected love.
Ashton Blakely, the Duke of Summerton, cannot stop his aunt from meddling in his affairs. So rather than let her select a most disagreeable mate, Ashton decides to fire the first volley by holding a ball as a scheme to bag the ideal wife: a deferential girl eager to produce and raise an heir, leaving Ashton to his beloved hunting lodge and titled friends. But when Ashton falls for the one woman who isn’t willing to play his game, all his plans scatter like buckshot. Suddenly, the chase is on!
Caroline Hawkins has no interest in marriage. In fact, she has devoted her life to defending women from the indignities visited upon them by their husbands. She only chaperones her beautiful younger sister to Summerton’s ball in the hopes of saving her family from bankruptcy. She certainly doesn’t expect to catch the Duke’s eye . . . nor is she prepared for the heat that rises every time she thinks of his powerful build or his dark, tantalizing gaze. Caroline can run, but she cannot hide—for Ashton has already captured her heart.
It looks like January is the month of historical romances and To Catch a Lady was part of that trend. The novel begins with Ashton Blakely, Duke of Summerton, who’s aunt is forcing him to settle down and marry. The last thing Ashton wants is to marry and share his life with a woman – he is entirely happy with the way his life is now. Ashton hatches a plan to hold an elegant ball that features a scandalous lottery containing the names of all the eligible young women of the ton because he doesn’t care who he married as long as she provides a heir. A perfect plan! However, when Caroline Hawkins bursts into his study to demand her sister be considered for marriage, Ashton is intrigued. Who is this woman who barters like a man and has very little qualms about traveling without a male escort?
Caroline Hawkins is not interested in marriage and only wants to marry off her sister to save their family from the life of squalor. Things happen, Caroline and Ashton are forced into a marriage to save Caroline’s family honor and they struggle to develop a healthy marriage between uncovering each other’s darkest secrets.
I wanted to like this but most of my issues were the characters themselves and their earlier misbehaviour. Ashton was cowardly, running from his responsibilities, behaving in ways that should have had him outcast in society if this book focused on the historical ton. Ashton was considered by the ton as a handsome oddity even though he chose to sleep with a loose woman on the night of his engagement..in front of all of his guests. Wait, what? Awkward. And Caroline, who is constantly saying she cares about her sister’s welfare, goes after the very man she’s trying to marry off her sister to? She considers being his mistress?! I can’t abide boinking your sister’s husband so this book started off rough for me. While working through their marital problems I was pretty frustrated with their childish behaviours. I just didn’t like the characters because they were TOO much of their flaws and their flaws felt to modern to be 18th or 19th century historical fiction.
The tale of two people coming together unexpectedly and falling in love while struggling to find common ground in their marriage was probably the only part of this book that I enjoyed. I found it refreshing that I was reading a novel about two people who are navigating marital waters instead of two people falling in love before marriage. I loved Caroline’s sister most of all because she was in a very difficult position and would have married Ashton to save her family, but she also didn’t keep her displeasure at being used by Caroline a secret. I could definitely respect a strong female character who would do anything for her family, even marry a man she didn’t love.
In the end, I couldn’t like this book because the main characters were not “my” people. The side characters were probably the saving grace with interesting men at the hunting loge, an over bearing aunt who only means the best, a younger sister who is strong and intelligent..but the main characters consistently behaved in ways that made me uncomfortable or frustrated. I am really quite sorry to the author who clearly wrote this novel with different readers in mind. I couldn’t move on from Caroline and Ashton’s beahviour at the ball and I think it negatively colored the rest of the book.
This novel will appeal to readers who enjoy historical romance that is heavy on marital explorations, novels about relationship issues and historical romances with a modern flair for sexual proclivities. I definitely don’t recommend this to readers who are easily bothered by cheating (as I am) because the first few chapters will color the rest of the novel. However, I think if the reader is new to the historical reading genre and likes marital romance this would be an excellent place to start.