So my name is Rashika and I am weird. I read a lot (duh) and I watch a lot of TV. I also like to review. Check out my blog (where I co-blog with awesome people).
This may just be the best Historical Romance I've ever read.
I cannot even remember why I picked this up (I have short term memory loss issues), I just thought it would be a good idea and boy was it ever.
This book kind of just gets rid of quite a bit of tropes that are common in the genre. You don't have rakes, you don't have perfect characters, the beauty of these characters is not important, the characters are presented as individuals instead of a unit. It's almost as if Courtney wrote this book with me in mind.
While I enjoy the usual historical romance, they are usually guilty pleasures, not something extraordinarily unique. This one though, this one was special. The only other historical romance I can think of that made this happy was Then Came You by Lisa Kleypas.
I have to start with Oliver. He was PERFECT. Like where can I find one perfect. He is a bastard and has always been shunned his whole life because of this. His parents have always been encouraging and great but that didn't protect him from the experiences he had when he went to college, which caused him to disappear inside his own cocoon, making him forget about how his own rebellion against society. He molded himself into what they expected from him instead of what he believed. In spite of all that you can still see his determination. He will do whatever he can to get what he wants, but he'll let you know if he's about to destroy you to get there (or maybe he just really liked Jane). But my favorite thing about him was that he wasn't a rake. Half the historical romances out there have either rakes or angry young men for male leads but Oliver was neither. Oh he was angry but he wasn't a controlling douche bag. He was a sweetheart. His inner struggle was heartbreaking to watch. It helped that he wore glasses and that his looks were hardly mentioned in the book. The female lead did not spend a billion hours swooning over how hot he was (even if he was pretty damn hot).
Jane was pretty damn awesome too. She is also a bastard but she embraces it more readily than Oliver and society doesn't mind her as much because of the fact that she is rich as hell. She was extremely clever, it was hilarious watching her repel all these people by just being..kind of nice. Jane lives a lie. Well it isn't exactly a lie but an exaggeration of her own personality which no one accepted anyway. She is doing all of this because she cannot get married, well not while her sister is still under the care of their uncle. He may have good intentions but he does all the wrong things in the name of Emily's well being. Some of them scary as hell. So she needs to stay there to protect her baby sister. But going back to Jane, she is this wonderful female lead who isn't ashamed. She may be alone, she may not be particularly happy but she never loses her back bone. She is strong and wonderful. One of the things that I really loved about her was how that even in the end, when she got her own HEA, she didn't let go of her 'out going ness'. She didn't lose the characteristics that made her, well her, even when there was no need to repel guys.
The romance though. It still makes me grin. It's slow to develop and starts off with friendship instead of you know, insta love. There isn't even insta attraction. Jane wants to get Oliver off her back while Oliver pities her. Even he doesn't initially see through her armor. Which is incredibly refreshing because it would be way too convenient if he did. It's really fun watching Oliver, in particular, struggle with his feelings until he comes to the realization ON HIS OWN that his life would suck without Jane. Jane again surprises me when she doesn't give up everything she is to be with this guy. It's not the fact that she didn't give up everything but the fact that she realized what she would be losing if she did that. She would be losing herself. I don't make to make their romance sound morbid, it has tons of fun banter and swoon worthy moments as well.
The secondary characters are awesome and I enjoyed Emily and Battacharya's story as well. It was sweet and lovable, just like them.
I also enjoyed Jane's relationship with her sister. It was so heartwarming. Although let me just say because I really need to get it out of my system, I AM NOT THAT KIND OF SISTER. Man I really do hope that someday someone will write a story where sisters aren't so NICE to each other.
In the end this is a wonderful historical romance and I am pretty sure I'll be re-reading it sometime in the near future. Hell for the first time I actually want to read the sequel although I doubt it will live up to the awesomeness of this book. I DEFINITELY recommend this book to fans of historical romance who are getting tired of the tropes.