Miss Winters Proposes by Frances Fowlkes

Miss Winters Proposes by Frances Fowlkes
Publisher: Entangled Publishing, LLC
Genre: Historical
Length: Short Story (145 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

An unseemly proposal…

Juliet Winters has come up with a wonderfully devious plan to avoid marrying her vile cur of a cousin. First, she’ll propose marriage to her handsome, reclusive neighbor, Lord Colwyn. Then, once she has both name and financial support, she’ll be able to pursue her true (if rather unladylike) passion — breeding dogs. But when Lord Colwyn rejects her proposal… Juliet must take matters into her own hands.

The last thing Benjamin Colwyn expected was for the spirited Juliet to blackmail him into marriage — especially not by kidnapping his beloved canine companion. Yet despite his yearning for peace and isolation, he finds himself wanting to help her, if only to protect her from a marriage to a disreputable scoundrel. He certainly doesn’t expect the woman who pilfered his dog to steal his heart, as well…

I enjoy unconventional heroines so I was pleased to meet Juliet and enjoyed watching how her unusual proposal bore fruit. Her intended betrothed is a reclusive bachelor who wants nothing to do with marriage or the complications that arise from being in a relationship. It’s his love for his dog that tips the scales and I couldn’t help but expect that a man who loves animals as much as he should be able to extend that capacity to love to his own species. Benjamin proved to be quite the challenge. He’s afraid. His fear makes for some incredibly poor decisions which contributed to the plot conflict.

This is a character driven romance told from both Juliet’s and Benjamin’s points of view. A reader gets to understand Juliet a whole lot better because she’s the stronger of the two as far as personality. She takes risks, she goes after what she wants, she speaks her mind and, once she falls in love, has the grace and dignity to deal with a recalcitrant husband. Benjamin, as sexy and wonderful as he is in his own way, has a huge chip on his shoulder from his past. Fortunately, absence really does make the heart grow fonder.

There is a thorn in Juliet’s side and it comes in the form of her cousin. In dealing with him is where Benjamin’s strengths in the story come forth. It’s one of the reasons why I liked him as a hero and it proved Juliet’s choosing of him was sound. Her cousin is a bounder, no doubts about it.

Anyone who loves dogs will have their hearts bruised just a little. It worked as a contributor to the plot conflict and it was very emotional. Because I’m sure it does happen in real life, it’s poignant and effective.

When Juliet and Benjamin explore their budding love in a physical manner, it’s quite beautiful. It’s the start of Benjamin’s healing but he doesn’t trust it. Thank goodness Juliet is a veritable font of patience, understanding and intelligence. She might be hurting but she’s not blinded to the truth. I have a great respect for her character.

The happy ever after is as sweet as I could wish. It ties up everything in a big romantic bow of satisfaction and happiness. Miss Winters Proposes is charming, sweet and a thoroughly likable read. If this is the traditional writing style of Ms. Fowlkes, then I’ll be looking for more. Some days, I crave a truly happy romance about two people who a reader can really cheer for and connect with. Juliet and Benjamin certainly were that for me in this novel so I’m a very happy reader.

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