Thank goodness you don’t need a working knowledge of Jane Austen to enjoy this fun novella. I’m not big on Austen or the Brontes but I do love Jenn McKinlay, author of some of my fave cozy mystery series (Cupcake Bakery and Library Lovers), plus Paris is Always a Good Idea, first of a romance duology.
Royal Valentine takes Molly Graham, registrar for the Museum of Literature and non-believer of love at first sight or fairy tales, on a roller coaster ride from NYC to Bath, England. Seeking refuge in her office from an Austen-themed gala, she catches a handsome British academic poaching her desk, also escaping the tedious party. Things go from bad to worse before they embark on a whirlwind romance through the streets and parks of New York. Molly’s BFF, Briana, had challenged her to aim high for her next lover, but introverted Albert George turns out to be plenty high enough for her.
Until he disappears.
A distraught Molly searches for him in vain until she discovers that there is no Albert George. Shattered, she loses all her hard-won belief in romance.
When she and Briana are asked to return borrowed Austen ephemera to the owners in Bath, England, she’s still in the throes of depression. But when she arrives at the Whitmore Estate, she’s thrown into confusion and shock when she learns that Albert George is really James Albert George Insley Whitmore, a viscount next in line to be an earl. The question now is will she be able to see beyond the hurt and devastation he left in his wake and come to believe he’s really her Prince Charming?
This quick read, currently available as an ebook and Audiobook, definitely gave me someone to root for. I so wanted Molly to get her happily ever after, probably because I really identify with bookish introverts! That includes Albert George, as well, being so similar to Molly in his shy studiousness. And his devotion to family, that we get to see in the English half of the book, adds to his charm.
Besides being a great story, there were a few things I particularly liked about Royal Valentine. I loved the NYC and Bath locations, both for themselves and for the contrast. I really enjoyed Briana. Sometimes, the sidekick character can be so annoying that it stops being fun but Briana was a good balance of pushing Molly to break out of her shell and being super supportive and protective when she needed it most. And Earl Whitmore, Albert George’s grandfather, is a sweet, wise old fella.
If you’re looking for a fast, engaging Valentine’s read, you’ll love Royal Valentine. There’s still plenty of time to get the ebook and last I checked, it was only .99 cents!