I won an arc of this book from Theresa Roamins blog, http://theresaromain.com/blog/. Thanks!
Julia Herington makes quite an impression on James, Viscount Matheson and newly betrothed to Louisa, Julias stepsister, the first time he meets Julia. James is nervously awaiting the arrival of Louisa when in blows this muttering woman who grows quite embarrassed upon seeing this dashing young man. They start up a delightful conversation while waiting for the rest of the family to arrive and Julia and James just hit it off together right away. And the more time that James spends with the family, the more she knows she wants a man just like him for herself. Unfortunately, James is for her sister and she needs to keep reminding herself of that fact...as does James.
James needed to quickly get engaged to help overshadow a scandal involving his sister and when he meets the lovely Louisa one night at a ball, hiding out in the library, he quickly starts a courtship and asks for her hand in marriage within a couple weeks. There is no love between Louisa and James, just an understanding that they will do well together. Louisa is intelligent and poised and will do well as a viscountess. However, as the story progresses you just get the feeling that Louisa is getting more and more unhappy with their arrangement. She has a dislike for the dealings of the London ton and is truly most happy in a library. Julia gets more and more distressed listening to her beloved sister and James, all she wants is for him to call her "my dear", as he refers to Louisa. But this seems to be something that will never happen.
The sisters and their utterly fun aunt travel to London for the holiday season and to meet James' family. Oh, what a disaster that was! His mother is not too pleased with the match, even though she was the one that insisted that James find a bride quickly. She makes her displeasure known and just ignores Julia for the most part. Thankfully they need to suffer only the dinner with her rude behavior but it also gives James a chance to explain the reason behind his hasty proposal to Louisa. Not long after Christmas, James is to escort the sisters and their aunt to a ball but Louisa pleads a headache and just Julia and Aunt Estella. They end up taking the carriage home alone and Julia being Julia, finally speaks her mind to James about her feelings and she is overjoyed with his response. This leads to a very heated kiss (but nothing more which I was thankful for as I dislike cheating) that they know must never happen again. But what happens in the morning changes everything....for the better or the worse? You will have to see. I don't want to give away anything about the ending but I will say, I started this book with laughter and I ended the book with laughter.
Overall, this is a delightful, witty debut from Theresa Romain! Each chapter has a little header, an example of one such quirky one liner : In which baboon behavior leads to unfortunate consequences. And looking back, each header matches what happens in the chapter, though its not revealed how until you read that chapter. As for the story, I was a bit hesitant about possible cheating but I was happy with how the situation played out but as it took most of the book, the heat factor is on the lower end. Yes, there is a small misunderstanding at the end but it is only small and very quickly resolved. As for our characters...what a cast Ms Romain assembled here. Julia is true delight to read. She speaks her mind and mutters and swears and I really enjoyed her. Louisa is kind and understanding, maybe a bit too much so, but I know she has a more of a story to tell and I hope she gets one. James is steadfast and honorable and prepared to follow through with his decision and does whatever he can to try to make Louisa happy. But the real scene stealer is Aunt Estella. What a hoot she was! We can all wish we could have someone like her in our corner. Like I said before, I began this story laughing and I ended the story laughing and that is a true winner in my book. I look forward to many more books from Theresa Romain. 4 solid heartwarming stars