A Convenient Engagement is a light-hearted read full of steamy scenes and laughter. For any fan of historical romance, this is a lovely weekend read.
[Some Spoilers; Mature Audiences]
Rating: 4 of 5 stars
A Convenient Engagement is the first novel in the Countess Scandals series and follows Miss Hannah Howard. She loves her newfound freedom, and she’s not going to let a crusty neighbor prevent her from her goal of living a happy life in London and maybe even getting a season out of the deal.
What she doesn’t count on is getting the cut from the entire ton after she pushes the Earl of Rhone off her doorstep for his dirty mouth.
As a way to save her and her reputation, Gavan (with some strong persuasion from his Highlander cousin) decides that he’ll offer for her hand and help her navigate the ton through the season. Once she’s made a way for herself and gotten a good man that will offer for her, they’ll break their engagement and everything will be back to normal.
It turns out to be a lot easier said than done.
When Hannah’s life is threatened, Gavan makes it his job to protect her as best as he can which means moving from London back to his home in Scotland and the people he left behind sixteen years ago.
This novel is a quick, fun read. The characters are funny and I caught myself laughing out loud several times.
Hannah Howard has moved to London after her father’s death and their landlord kicked her out of the house they lived in because she wouldn’t marry his son.
That didn’t get Hannah down, though. Her father left her a huge inheritance that she uses to buy a townhouse in St. James’s Square and plans to live on the money for the rest of her life as an independent woman. She doesn’t want to marry and definitely doesn’t want to experience the loss that her father went through when her mother died or do that to any future husband.
The trouble begins with her neighbor, the Earl of Rhone. He has insisted that she not have her contractors work on remodeling the townhouse during ungodly hours.
To him, that’s anything before mid-afternoon because he’s a bit of a drunkard rake. Their first encounter happens when he’s in a mood already and he hears the loud banging from next door.
He goes to confront Mr. H.H but is met with Hannah and her fiery temper. When he tries to weasel his way out of his blunder, he takes to whispered dirty things to her in Latin, thinking she doesn’t know it.
She sure does, though, and she gives him a black eye before pushing him down her front stairs in front of all of St. James’s Square.
He heard her quick intake of breath and watched a blush rise on her cheeks. The day was definitely on its way to improving.
Until her elbow slammed into his midsection.
He doubled over as the wind rushed out of his body. Her elbow connected again, this time with his right eye, and the same moment her heel came down firmly on his instep.
He stumbled away from the she-devil. His injured foot lost its purchase, and her outraged glare was the last thing he saw before he pitched backward down her front steps.
Gavan landed face up on the pavement, squinting into the afternoon sun. He tried to decipher the exact moment the universe had turned against him.
This causes quiet the stir because young ladies aren’t supposed to be violent, so the ton gives Hannah the cut direct. She’s not even sure what has happened to her until Gavan shows back up at her townhouse and proposes that they have a fake engagement so that she can clear her name and have a chance at a normal life in London.
What follows is Hannah and Gavan flirting constantly and getting handsy at every opportunity. See, Hannah doesn’t want to get married, ever, but she isn’t opposed to learning what passion can evoke in a relationship, and Gavan has a lot of practice.
“Do you want me to stop?” The question came out choked, as if the words fought him.
“Don’t you dare,” she said to the door.
“You look,” he said, moving up behind her, placing kisses on the side of her neck, “like a woman who has been well pleased.”
When Hannah is the victim or two failed kidnapping attempts, Gavan takes her back to his home, Castle Rhone in Scotland. She bridges gaps between family and makes a mark on all the Dalreochs.
Gavan spends the novel being a completely lovely, charming man. He’s had a hard past which includes being a bastard and avoiding his half brother who treated him horribly as a child. He does hit the drink a little hard early on, but he does make good changes the longer Hannah is in his life.
When Gavan wants to make their fake engagement a real one, he meets all of Hannah’s resistance. She doesn’t want to marry him and after the threat is taken away, she plans on leaving him and setting out for the freedom she so desperately wants.
That was the only true frustration I had with the novel. Hannah is so stubborn about the marriage and needing her freedom that she doesn’t stop and realize that Rhone would in no way hold her captive.
Thankfully, she has friends to talk some sense into that stubborn head of hers.
“You reall ought to marry Rhone.”
Anything except that. “Mathilda—”
“I’m all for female independence but I suspect you’re letting yourself be ruled by fear.”
Speaking of her friends, there’s also an outstanding supporting cast full of solid, well-developed characters with their own pasts and identities. There’s really no one in this book that is flat. Ewan, Gavan’s cousin, absolutely despises London and the heathens in it. Jane and Mathilda are Hannah’s companions and friends. Magnus is Rhone’s “Liam Neeson in Taken-esque,” majordomo. Fiona, Gavan’s sister, is absolutely lovely and so strong-willed. Even the villain of the story has very motivated reasons.
Once I started this book, I got sucked right in. It made me smile so much. I only wish there was an epilogue so I could see where they end up down the road. Otherwise, I fully recommend this book to feel historical romance lovers.
The next book in the Countess Scandals series comes out in July and is Ewan’s story! I can’t wait to read it, and see what’s going on with all the Dalreochs!
Thank you to Intermix Books for the advanced reader copy!