Julia Kelly returns to the blog with the second title in The Matchmaker of Edinburgh series, an historic romance title of the Victorian era. Please read on for my review of
The Taste of Temptation
I don’t know HOW I missed the first in this series, as I loved Kelly’s Governess series, but miss it no more, the second book in The Matchmaker of Edinburgh series has plenty to recommend it, and it’s set in Victorian Scotland, with characters who are taking advantage of the potential in this upwardly mobile society. Caroline Burkett has spent the past years in London as the subject of scandal, derision and idle gossip. When her engagement to a viscount fell through, her mother filed a breach of promise suit, and Caroline was left to fend off journalists, societal censure and the embarrassment of public interest into her most trying time. Although she won a settlement, the money went to solicitors and debts, leaving her with little and a need to stay with relations as an unmarried woman. She’s decided that Scotland is her best shot, and moves in with her brother (a banker) and his wife, with an introductory letter to Moira Sullivan, the Matchmaker of Edinburgh. She’s closed herself off to flights of fancy concerning love, and wants little more than a quick marriage to ensure her security and remove herself from the notice of the tabloids.
Jonathan Moray is a self-made man, coming from less than nothing, he’s managed to purchase and make a success of two newspapers: the leading gossip tabloid of Edinburgh, The Tattler, and the leading and well-respected daily that presents actual news that is important. He wants to start an evening edition, but his own determination not to borrow against either paper or place himself in debt have him needing to increase circulation and improve the bottom line before adding the newest release. When one of his ‘spotters’ sees Caroline arriving at the station, he knows that one thing will make his dreams of an evening edition come true: convince her to share the “real” story of her engagement, being set aside and the trial. He intends to charm, cajole and even scare Caroline into agreeing to his terms, he knows that she may be shorter of funds than originally thought, and that becomes a consideration as well.
Meantime at her brother’s house, Caroline and his wife Elsie are finding themselves developing a true friendship, and Caroline is seeing that Elsie is more than welcoming, needing a break from the oft-demanding and grumpy Michael. With an introduction to Moray at her first night out after her arrival, Caroline is alternately intrigued and frustrated that yet another ‘journalist’ is concerned with her story, but the sparks and conversation are both intriguing. But, she wants a secure and quiet life, the sparks, the conversation and the attraction are all far more than she wants or deserves. Of course, when she meets Moira Sullivan, a woman of considerable wealth, an eye for who’s who, and an endless series of successful matches, Caroline is clear in her intentions to marry quickly, whomever will have her, and Moray is the only person she’s not interested in. Never say never, as Moira issues a coveted invitation to Moray, seats him next to Caroline, and watches the sparks fly. That is, until a rival for her attention, and wholly more suited man, if boring and self-centered, enters the room.
Kelly takes us on a ride with two characters who are completely unaware of their own worth and desirability. Caroline is beautiful, intelligent, honest and loyal: the right man would be honored to have her, and while she considers herself ruined and tainted, she believes that the very limited options for women of her time have her constrained to say yes to the first taker. Moray is so consumed with making a success of his papers and keeping his past a secret, determined that love is a pipe dream and that his coming from less than nowhere doesn’t make him a viable option for any woman: and this obsession he has for Caroline is little more than wanting the story to quiet his insatiable curiosity. Fortunately, for both of them, the secondary characters in this story are not above a bit of manipulation, straight talk and some serious interference. From his best friend Gavin and his wife Ina (a sculptor) to his editor Eva, her partner Catriona and even Moira and the dressmaker Mrs. Parkem are all wiling to push, prod and even speak plainly to have them see what is right in front of their eyes. Fortunately, even if delayed and right at the brink, they both see sense and dare to bare their hearts and dreams, living a life together that neither could have dared to hope for. Kelly’s writing is wonderfully descriptive, the dialogue sharp and a sense of both the societal pressure and self-esteem play on the progression of the relationship and story: making the place and the people easy to understand, enjoy and cheer for. A read in one sitting story that shows dreams, even those far beyond what is ‘conventional’ can come true.
Title: The Taste of Temptation
Author: Julia Kelly
Series: The Matchmaker of Edinburgh #2
Genre: Historical Romance, Setting: Scotland, Victorian
Published by: Pocket Star
Published on: 5 February, 2018
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Heat: Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ Barnes&Noble ♦ iTunes ♦ Kobo ♦ Google
Travel back in time to Scotland with bestselling author Julia Kelly for this delightful second installment in her latest historical romance series, The Matchmaker of Edinburgh series.
Accomplished matchmaker Moira Sullivan knows that sometimes, the most unlikely pair can be the most entertaining.
Only desperation could have driven Caroline Burkett to her brother’s home in Scotland, but desperate is exactly what she is. After suing her former fiancé for breaking their engagement and causing a scandal in the papers, her only hope of starting over is to enlist the help of Edinburgh’s famous matchmaker, Moira Sullivan.
Born to a butler and maid, Jonathan Moray fought hard to find his place in Edinburgh society. Now a powerful newspaperman, he can make or break a person’s reputation with his headlines, but Jonathan knows his success isn’t guaranteed. He needs salacious stories to keep his readers enthralled, and Caroline’s story is just the sort to sell papers in droves.
When Moira introduces Jonathan and Caroline at a salon, Caroline knows the editor is exactly the wrong man to associate with if she wants to find a husband and restore her reputation, but even as another, more suitable suitor begins to court her, she can’t deny the power of her attraction to Jonathan. Now she must ask herself if she’s strong enough to choose between the man who can give her a secure, quiet life, or the one who promises her a passion she’s never known.
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.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: