Olivia Kingsley: Pretty Persuasion

Young Lady Georgiana Montford is heartbroken and infuriated when she  discovers her lifelong betrothed, Robert Balfour, in the arms of another woman.  Severing their friendship, she vows to choose her own husband, a man who’ll  share her thirst for adventure. Yet, despite her attempts to forget him,  Robert’s place in her heart proves more unwavering than she could ever have  imagined.

After seven years on his Caribbean plantation, Robert returns to England a  changed man. Weary of traveling and troubled by his past, he hopes to attain  peace of mind through marriage and family. Though scarcely daunted at finding  Georgie in love with another man, he soon learns that winning her hand—and  heart—will take more powerful means of persuasion than expected.

Our heroine, Georgie, is the walking definition of a high flyer.  When we meet her, she is engaged in an assignation before our hero catches her out.

What follows after is a cat and mouse game of two troubled characters trying to figure out what they really want.

There are some funny scenes, some steamy scenes, and some emotional scenes in this well written Regency by new (to me) author Olivia Kingsley.  I didn’t always understand their motivations, and sometimes I wanted to slap them both, but I think that was intended.   Romance can be a frustrating thing, murky, muddy, messy and with complicated internal dialogues that sabatoge even the truest hearts.

I like that friendship forms a solid foundation for the love story, as I think in reality friendship is what carries us through partnerships.  That, unfortunately, isn’t always the case in contempo hist-ro, and I think probably because that’s not always the author’s experience.

Kingsley does a great job of teasing threads of the story that make you want to unravel the characters, but I was a bit let down by the “big reveal.”  I think she wrote an easy way out for her characters that made me crinkle my forehead and think “That was it?!”.  But I also recognize that it is a fine line we tread in the hist-ro genre with escapism and drama, and that the “happy for now” ending is the silent contract between author and reader.

Although I am a huge fan of the anti-hero, Richard III being one of my favorite Shakespeares, I acknowledge in my own writing it is too easy to fall in love with my own characters and not want to give them their lumps.  Unfortunately, the lumps are usually the most interesting part of the story…thus the reason why the anti-hero is such a popular genre (thinking of true crime, mystery, etc).

I loved the rowdy group of cousins/brothers/friends that pop up over the course of Pretty Persuasion, and almost wished for more time with them.  Similarly, other tertiary characters pop in and out and aren’t used to strengthen characters as foils.

Nonetheless, I enjoyed my time with Kingsley’s book and definitely look forward to reading more from this talented author!

 (4 out 5 Enjoyable, quick read with some steamy action and likable hero/heroine.  Conflict was sometimes over the top and on the internal/miscommunication side, but overall a good read!)

 (Mature audience only.  Intimate scenes, some violence, graphic language, and mentions of mistresses/etc. Maybe okay for older teens with parental review…although I am not sure if the plot points will be interesting to a younger audience.)

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