It Started With a Kiss
Book 3 in the Worthingtons series
Author Ella Quinn
Narrated by Cat Gould
Publication date Mar 28, 2017
Running time 11 hrs
I voluntarily reviewed an advance readers copy of this book. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own except as noted.
This season, all eyes are on the Earl of Worthington’s spirited, beautiful sister, Lady Louisa Vivers. Many gentlemen are vying for her attention in and around the ton. Yet, Louisa longs for someone who can take her beyond the ballroom—a man who is worldly, adventurous, and passionate. She won’t settle for just any suitor. She wants her true soul mate—and she’ll know him when she sees him. Is Gideon, the Duke of Rothwell, him? The moment he and Louisa meet, they share a powerful attraction. Rides at sunrise and waltzes at dusk follow.
Finally, Gideon can no longer resist the urge to embrace her, and Louisa is sure he will ask for her hand. But Gideon believes he is in no position to marry. The Rothwell estate has gone bankrupt, a scandal simmers in its wake, and he has nothing left to offer. Now, he must decide if he will let pride stand in the way of true love—or if he will risk everything, and let the lady decide for herself . . .
A kiss is not the impetus for either the story or the romance in the story; it starts off with Gideon, a young, newly-minted duke returning from an extended trip to Canada riding through the park to his town-home. He has discovered his family fortunes are not healthy. Gideon sees a beautiful young woman “with a good seat” who turns out to be Lady Louisa Viviers. It is pretty much love at first sight. But, the attraction starts with a horse; with one horse loving member of the Ton recognizing a kindred spirit at a distance.
That she turns out to be the sister of one of his best friends, and that he has been forced into a calamitous financial state by the mysterious misbehavior of his late father the new duke gets some sobering surprises.
It is an entirely romantic story filled with lots of lovely love-making — and certainly worth the read for the naughtiness factor alone. It also delves into the morality and honor of the highfalutin Ton members who believe they are owed money lent to a man they were aware was not himself. Once again, the Nobility is privileged and privilege has a responsibility to behave with honor and compassion. Regency romance often depends on the disparity between the ideal of nobility, and the behavior of those who claim their privilege from it.
I had a couple of issues with the story though: One is Gideon asks his friends for advice and offers a different kind of help to a cousin but for some reason he believes he has to take care of everything on his own and not tell the woman he loves about it. He can give help but not accept it. Why? Louisa on the other hand talks a good game about trust, but she doesn’t walk the walk. Granted, it is probably Gideon’s reticence to share the truth that ultimately pisses her off, but trust goes both ways. At least I wasn;t convinced about the “on my own, no help from the woman” trope or the trope involving trust.
Another issue I had was with the narration. I had to grit my teeth to listen to the voices of, especially the female, characters. They grated in tone and pitch and the phrasing was stilted, like hearing a child who didn’t wish to be forced to read aloud in school. Perhaps it is something one becomes accustomed to as a second listen did not affect me as much.
As part of the series, it is an interesting direction to head: that is away from the family leadership to the rest of the children in the family. And, if it is a fave then you’ll want to get to listen to this one too.