Publisher: WOLF Publishing
Release Date: October 18th 2022
Genre: Romance – Regency – Christmas
Part of Naughty or Nice: A Holiday Regency Anthology – Once Upon an Aggravatingly Heroic Kiss Review / A Diamond for Christmas Review
Novella 3 of 7 in Naughty or Nice, and feels very middle-ground compared to the first two. Enjoyable enough, but didn’t quite have that spark for me that made A Diamond for Christmas and Once Upon an Aggravatingly Heroic Kiss so compelling.
Franny Shaw, American heiress, is looking to repair her reputation after a scandal that puts her on the outs with American society. When Chance Allerton seeks a governess for his new charge, Franny volunteers, desperate to get closer to the viscount so she can sketch him.
Franny is at times a great character, but she veers a bit too much into “not like other girls” for my tastes. A lot of this is based purely on the fact she is American. It could have been handled just a little better, rather than just “she’s different because she’s American.”
However, something I really loved was the way she’s seen through Chance’s eyes – he adores her almost instantly, admiring her body, which is described in a way to indicate plus-size. I found myself too often flipping back and forth between liking Franny and disliking her. Honestly, the “not like other girls” thing is the major drawback of reading some Historical Romances, but I think I would have liked to have seen this, perhaps, in a longer form, especially if it could have given Franny more of a chance to meet and befriend other women.
Something longer could have also given us the opportunity to see more of Franny with the young girl she has been hired to look after. It felt like a little bit of a missed opportunity, as the scenes we do get with the kid are sweet and entertaining.
The other thing that stands out is as far as I can recall, it makes a deal out of her father making his money in America, more “new money” than the upper-class ton, but doesn’t indicate how he made this money, which is something I really wish more writers would consider for this time period, when a lot of money was coming from the slave trade? But maybe that’s me overthinking a Regency Romance novella?
Despite some of the things I didn’t like in this novella, on the whole I still enjoyed it, and find myself keen to check out more of Sumner’s books, as I think she really nails the sizzling, steamy aspects of the romance between the two characters.