Genres: Historical Romance, Regency Romance
Source: Advance Reader Copy, NetGalley
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The beautiful Miss Amelia Snow is not accustomed to being snubbed by the gentlemen of the ton. But when her mother dies unexpectedly, forcing Amelia to take employment as companion to a wealthy cit’s daughter, she quickly learns to play down her looks or risk losing her position. When her employers, the Smithsons, decide to throw a country house party, she is determined to fade into the background. But how can she when the Smithson’s guest of honor is Lord Quentin Fortescue, the childhood friend who stole her heart?
Younger son, Lord Quentin Fortescue, is far more interested in his host’s cotton mills in the north than he is in courting the man’s dim-witted daughter. But it’s the girl’s companion who makes him look twice. Years ago, Miss Amelia Snowe rejected his proposal without a backward glance. Quentin has molded himself into just the sort of man she’d have wanted back then, but is Amelia still the smug beauty who broke his heart? And can either of them risk their newfound positions to indulge the fiery attraction that burns between them?
After the last Ugly Ducklings book, I actually found myself wanting to hear Amelia’s story. This novella is my wish granted!
Amelia Snow has been the darling of the ton and was definitely the most beautiful lady on the marriage mart. But if all this is true, why is she still unwed? Short answer, Amelia’s a jerk. She’s been horrible to the other ladies in the ton, primarily 3 whom she dubbed The Ugly Ducklings. All 3 of whom are married to men who rejected Amelia.
In this novella, Amelia is forced to seek employment as a companion after her mother dies leaving Amelia penniless and in debt. She also realizes that she was a horrible person, and that if she wants to survive, she’ll have to change her ways:
“If she’d been a nicer person, or a more gracious winner, she might have survived by relying on the kindness of her friends. But the realization that she was fast becoming a thoroughly unlikeable person had come too late to save her from ostracism once her mother was gone.”
It doesn’t help that the mother of her new charge treats Amelia abominably. Amelia is forced to change her whole personality, and it’s definitely a change for the better. While preparing her charge for a country party, Amelia is determined to be the absolute model of decorum, she downplays her stunning looks, and she keeps to the background. Her plan is going well too, until she stumbles across a surprise guest.
Lord Quentin Fortescue is shocked to see his childhood sweetheart as a companion to the family he’s doing business with. He also isn’t afraid to admit that he’s not at all sad to see her humbled a bit. But he doesn’t know how her past couple years in London really went, so he’s even more shocked to hear her admit how awful she’d truly been. She also explains more why she left him for London, and he realizes that maybe he’s not all that upset anymore.
The two of them are a great couple. Quentin is a lovely hero, and I truly liked Amelia’s change of heart and personality. You can read this as a stand-alone, so if you get the chance, you should absolutely grab it!
***ARC courtesy of St. Martin’s Press