Welcome to my review with excerpt and giveaway for book 2 in the Thornbrook Park series from Sherri Browning. Thanks to Sourcebooks Casablanca for the giveaway where you can win one of 5 copies of Thornbrook Park, book one in the series!
An Affair Downstairs:
The second in the series I have read, I will warn those who are expecting a Downton Abbey like storyline that this is decidedly not that: the comparable elements are the location of the stories in Yorkshire, and a similar time frame of the Edwardian period. Take a chance on your historic romance that is not ‘influenced’ by other titles, works or authors: it’s how you find gems.
In this book we have a few recurring meetings with characters from book one, but this does stand-alone well, with plenty of moments to make you smile. While not as laden with tension from the various machinations of the characters on their way to love, nor as straightforward in characterization as I normally seek out, this is a fun read that will entertain even as you may look to whack a couple of characters with a solidly aimed riding crop.
Again the beauty and unique landscape peculiar to Yorkshire is front and center as Browning sets the story with plenty of moments to admire the scenery as the world in which the characters exist is described. And that world very much expects that Alice Emerson will marry. But, Alice has her own thoughts on the matter, and those approach scandalous.
Alice was interesting: alternating between complete airhead or masterminding manipulator, the overall impression is one of a fairly heedless to consequences young woman with a sharp tongue and determination to get what she wants. I had moments where I wasn’t able to believe Alice was as stupid as she appeared, and then, she’d almost prove me right. Or wrong. Occurring equally.
Logan is the ‘unsuitable’ man, son of a baron and a bit of a doormat – quite apologetic about both his reduced circumstances and his own limited prospects. I couldn’t find a ton to like or dislike about him: he’s the Charlie Brown of the cast without the continual self-investigative moments. And, his seeming inability to say “no” to Alice, or to even work up any strong emotion about her behavior, subtle or ridiculously over the top leaves his moments reliant nearly entirely on how others relate to him. It was an interesting proposition to take a decidedly beta male as a hero, but not make Alice particularly alpha in their relationship. They both felt rather clueless about it all – and that worked to their favor, much to my surprise.
Other characters do appear to ‘insert’ themselves into the romance, but I didn’t find that I felt the tension as much as I would have expected. Lord Ralston is SO over the top in his effusive praise of Alice and her ‘delights’ that it borders on obsequious and desperate: even Alice sees the wrong in his approach. Brought in by Alice’s sister Sophie, a wholly dislikable and bossy character, most certainly responsible for Alice’s inability or unwillingness to make her own carefully considered choices.
Overall, the story was enjoyable, if lacking in some needed tension: either between Logan and Alice in a sexual sense, or from the characters who are sure to mark this match ‘unsuitable’. And let’s be clear: Logan’s unsuitability is merely his history: he’s done much in this quiet removed life as the Estate Manager. There was a touch of tension both from the forbidden of their relationship, but I didn’t find this a particularly angsty read – more a slow grower without great tension, most notable for the twists and turns in Alice’s behavior as readers try to puzzle out the great question: spoilt airhead or headstrong calculating genius?
Title: An Affair Downstairs
Author: Sherri Browning
Genre: Historical Romance
Published by: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Published on: 6 January 2015
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Audio Length: 9 Hours: 35 minutes
Heat: Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ AllRomance ♦ Barnes&Noble ♦ iTunes ♦ Kobo ♦ Downpour ♦ Book Depository ♦ Google
The attraction of the forbidden cannot be suppressed…
Lady Alice Emerson is entirely unsatisfied with the endless stream of boring suitors her family finds appropriate. She wants something more. Something daring. Something real. Each tiresome new suitor only serves to further inflame Lady Alice’s combustible attraction to Thornbrook Park’s rugged, manly estate manager, Logan Winthrop. Despite Logan’s stubborn attempts to avoid her, Lady Alice is irresistible, and so is the forbidden desire exploding between them…
If you’re a fan of Downton Abbey, don’t miss the fascinating Edwardian world of Thornbrook Park.
See my Review of Thornbrook Park, book 1 in the series
See the Series on Goodreads
A copy of this title was provided via Publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.