Lady Elaine Warren began her first season full of excitement and verve, ready to have her chance at the world. But slowly, she began to fade away and turned into a wallflower of the highest order. The culprit? Evan Carlton, the Earl of Westfield, made Elaine his target. With his insecure cousin in tow, Evan made Elaine’s life miserable, until she lost all chance of finding a well-placed husband. But in reality, Evan has always liked Elaine, and his mocking of her was simply an immature reaction to an attraction he didn’t know what to do with. Returned from the Continent, and several life-changing experiences, Evan longs to show Elaine just how stupid he was and see if he can have a chance at winning the woman he loves most of all, even if she wants nothing to do with him.
This little novella by Courtney Milan has received rave reviews pretty much everywhere. I’m not going to lie, I was absolutely thrilled when I discovered I could buy it for 86p on my Kindle, even though I’m in the UK. I downloaded it and read it within two days. It’s a short novella, equivalent to about 100 pages in print, so it’s best read straight in an evening (preferably alone, and with tissues if you’re anything like me).
Anyway, despite the reviews, I was genuinely surprised at how well this worked. I often have trouble buying into short romances, because it’s hard to believe they’d fall in love so fast, but this one just clicked with me instantly. The back story comes thick and fast, so we’re prepared for the characters’ reactions immediately. Plus, they tap right into that stereotype of the popular teenager longing for the wallflower, turning around and falling in love with her, then grovelling in order to win her heart back. I’m sure we’d all wish to avoid the torment that is actually inflicted on poor Elaine, but watching Evan try impossibly hard to win her back is gorgeous reading for someone who loves romance.
Plus, if you’ve ever been made fun of, even if not to such a degree, it’s impossible not to empathise with Elaine. Who wouldn’t want their former tormentor to turn around, beg forgiveness, and proceed to do everything in his power to make things perfect? At the same time, how hard would it be to trust that person not to turn around and make it all a living hell once again? It’s all so well done and so true to real life emotions. I’d never really Courtney Milan before, but trust me, this will not be the last time I do so, and I will be purchasing her backlist the minute I allow myself to buy books again.
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