I’ve struggled to get into a historical romance this year. I’ve been searching for something that didn’t have a heavy focus on the class politics of the Ton and–when I remembered this series was set in Gilded Age New York City–I decided to give this one a go.
Well…jokes on me because despite this book’s urban American setting and the time period–it’s mostly about the class politics of the Ton.
Our hero Julius Hatcher is basically a 19th Century American Wall Street bro who drunkenly agrees to a fake engagement to Lady Honora “Nora” Parker, the 20-year-old daughter of an Earl. Nora was sent to America as punishment and she needs a scandalous American fiance so that her father will order her back to England and she can reunite with the English artist she loves.
But as Nora spends more time with haughty American she starts to doubt her feelings for the English man waiting for her back home. Which means…
This book technically has cheating in it. I mean, it’s revealed that the man back home is a bad person, but we don’t know that for a while. Cheating in romance isn’t a deal-breaker for me but it felt weird how long Shupe let it go on for.
I just couldn’t keep engaged with this book, the stakes of Julian and Nora’s fake relationship were constantly changing and neither of the characters felt fully developed. Nora read like a blank slate while Julius was given three different tragic backstories to explain his entire personality. I read this a few weeks ago and recall nothing about the romance except that women were banned from the Trading Floor and Julian took Nora there anyway.
Narrator Roxy Isles was great for Nora and the British characters but she kept going Southern for all of the Americans, despite them being born and bred New Yorkers.
Overall this book was a disappointment but I still want to check out Shupe’s 5th Avenue series. It looks like in those books both characters are Americans and I know Justine Eyre has an ear for both American and English accents.
At one point Julius describes Nora’s eyes as the slur for Romani people…were we really still doing that in 2017 ?