Author: Elizabeth Michels
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Date of Publication: March 4, 2014
How I Got This Book: NetGalley ARC
Rating: 5 Crowns
Cinderella meets I Love Lucy in this charming Regency romanceLord Steelings, is a charming rake and the life of every party. He always has a joke to tell and a smile on his face, all masking a dark secret. If London society knew of his mentally ill mother hidden away in the country, he wouldn't be welcome at a single ton event. Sue Greene has never been noticed. The older sister of an exotic beauty, she's spent her life being pushed to the side. When she has the chance to attend a masquerade ball, she seizes the opportunity. If she had only known donning a mask would change her life...
Another absolutely delightful book from Ms. Michels and Sourcebooks. Sourcebooks excels at the historical romance novels. Please be warned some may take pieces of this review as spoiler - they're not meant to be but they can be interpreted as such.
Sue is decidedly on the shelf after four failed seasons (her blunt talking tends to alienate her from potential suitors) and if she doesn't walk away with a husband at the end of her fifth, her mother has decided she will be exiled to the wilds of Scotland with an aunt, never able to potentially embarrass the family again (or, even worse in Sue's idea, never have chocolate again since said aunt doesn't like sweets). I really enjoyed Sue. She wasn't a beauty and knew that (though of course the hero comes to see her as beautiful), but didn't have any bitterness about the fact. She loves her sweets (who can't love a girl who likes that), and unlike many heroines, isn't able to indulge in them without consequences (she gains weight if she does, and, on a sad note, her mother gets witchy about the fact). She's an artist in her own right, having sold many of her paintings, though I'm not sure her family is aware that she's actually sold some of them.
Sue and Steelings have a run-in at a masquerade (that Sue wasn't supposed to be at in the first place) and it quickly turns very ... heated. That leaves Steelings hungry for more and he tries to find his mysterious "Suzanna" (that's how she was introduced to him). Her cousins sort of aid in the hunt, but don't really. He even at more than one point asks Sue to help him find Suzanna when they're supposed to be at the same ball together and as you can guess, she doesn't appreciate that very much, nor does it help her sense of self-esteem.
In the end, however, Steelings does figure things out and then has to deal with the issue of he doesn't believe he should ever get married (his mother's literally insane, and has just shown up in London again) but Sue is a lady. That doesn't stop him from making her a not-very-polite offer to become his mistress, and she justifiably gets pissed. I thoroughly enjoyed when, shortly after, Sue tells off her mother at long last and decides to live for herself, not just accept being in the shadows. It was a necessary part of Sue's growth and necessary for her and Steelings to have their HEA ending.
The mother subplot was well handled and I was happy to see how Steelings and his father found their way back to one another.
All around, this was another fabulous novel by Ms. Michels. The tone was very different, yet...not...from her first book (reviewed here last month). I can't wait to read more books by her and hope I won't have to wait too long. 5 stars all the way!
This review is also posted at Tory Michaels' World. Book provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.