A Wedding in Springtime by Amanda Forester

WEDDING
A Wedding in Springtime by Amanda Forester
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Genre: Action/Adventure, Historical
Length: Full Length (391 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

Five minutes into Miss Eugenia Talbot’s presentation at court, notorious rogue Mr. William Grant made her laugh, ruining her debut. To hush up the scandal, Eugenia’s aunt hires a matchmaker to quickly find a suitor—anyone except the infamous William Grant—to help restore Eugenia’s reputation. But amiable Eugenia shows a disturbing tendency to follow her heart, and is again caught in the company of notorious Grant. When a traitor creeps closer, threatening to ruin more than just Eugenia’s reputation, her kindheartedness may be her ultimate undoing…

If ever a blurb was misleading then the little snippet for A Wedding in Springtime is totally off base. This story isn’t all fluff and boring internal angst between the classes and a man overcome by a lady’s charms. Not by a long shot. This book has intrigue, action, mystery, betrayal, twisted intentions, and a love scene that was totally not what a person expected. This tale started off so innocently and slowly built with starts and stops, but that was only a ploy to lull a reader into thinking that this was going to be an historical romance like all the rest. Ms. Forester wove a tale that embraced humor, women with spunk and men who are unwittingly at their mercy. In short, it was a blast to read.

This novel is also busy with a lot of story threads that work through the main story arc and which involves many secondary characters. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that there were more than just Genie and William on center stage. Some of the supporting cast were just as integral and strong in presence as if they too were the focus of the story. It is because their lives are so intertwined that it’s hard to think of only the hero and heroine. Even with stating this, the author should be commended for her strength of writing. Every time someone else was on stage, it benefited the plot movement that swirled around William, a/k/a Grant, and Genie. Everything they did and said had a domino effect that propelled the main protagonists to discover important things about each other, to make certain choices that ultimately lead them to a romance reader’s ultimate goal – the happily ever after. To that end, the author was wildly successful if unconventional.

Eugenia a/k/a Genie starts off in a pickle. The man who sealed her doom eventually becomes her salvation. Before that can happen, however, I was treated to a young woman who has an adventure beyond anything she could have imagined. She is faced with difficult choices, some fun, some heartfelt, and others that showcased what a wonderful, caring and ingenious woman she could be. There was one scene that made me think of her as a cross between Mary Poppins and Dirty Harry – sweet but don’t mess with her or she’s going to make you pay. I didn’t expect that and didn’t know she had it in her. It was awesome.

Grant was a typical rogue and confirmed bachelor. Many an historical romance features a man filled with ennui and it takes an ‘original’ to bring him to life and lust to the point he rethinks his aversion to marriage. Fans of Regency romances will find that is true for the hero in this book as well. Unlike other rogues, he’s not a bad sort at all. In fact, Grant is charming, suave, happy-go-lucky and in his estimation, delightfully clueless about things regarding estates. It’s said that a good woman makes a good man better. That is how I saw the hero. He was good but everything that transpired during the course of this tale made him grow as a person, a man and a son. If asked, I’d say the most dramatic element of the book was seeing Grant go from frivolous male to an aware, decisive and proactive man, willing to do what needs to be done to do the right thing. His inspiration was Genie and his proposal was as original and spectacular as could be. He was a terrific hero.

As for secondary characters, this book was flush. I enjoyed getting to meet every single one, everyone that is, except the villain. I suspected who the cur was but I never anticipated the nasty nature that the bounder hid. In fact, I strongly and completely suspect that all is not wrapped up in a neat and tidy bow. There was someone else I didn’t trust and I was taken aback when it didn’t turn out the way I thought it should. I could have sworn that he was in collusion but I am supposedly proved wrong. I’m going with my gut feeling. You see, the Duke of Marchford and Penelope, the companion to the dowager duchess, have this buzz thing zinging between them. They don’t recognize what’s going on but as a fan of all things romantic, I believe I saw a sequel starting to bloom and when Ms. Forester does write James’ story, which I implore her to do, I fully expect to have my suspicions confirmed. To that end, I firmly and loudly state that Ms. Forester’s next book is going to be an auto-buy for me. The people she has introduced me to during the telling of this tale have completely enchanted me. I also want to know what becomes of the quick-fingered Jem.

A Wedding in Springtime is simply delightful with storytelling filled with charm, heart and a good dose of addictive fun. I never knew what kind of ploy Genie would come up with, when the next twist of the plot would occur or what would make Grant swallow that lump in his throat and get around to proposing. The external conflict kept the pages turning and the well rounded characters kept me engaged. This might have been the first book written by Ms. Forester that I’ve read, but it won’t be the last. I liked her writing style and if this is what I can expect, I expect to be a happy reader. I encourage other readers to give this book a whirl and discover what made me like Genie and Grant so much.

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