Review: A Promise of More by Bronwen Evans

promise of moreReviewed by Janell

This historical has a great setup: Beatrice’s brother was killed in a duel by Sebastian, Lord Coldhurst. Now her family is nearly destitute, so she plans to guilt Sebastian into marrying her and supporting everyone. Sebastian is a standard notorious rake with a title; he’s so into playing the field that he’s never even kept a mistress because that would be too much of a commitment. Surprisingly, Sebastian agrees to marry Beatrice because that way he can sire an heir, philander his way through the ton, and prevent the society matrons from flinging their marriageable daughters at him. It’s a win-win.

Let’s talk issues. Beatrice is twenty-five, well past her prime, and she expected to remain on the shelf forever. Her nickname is Henpeck Hennessy because she was always nagging her brother to stop spending all of the family’s money, dragging him out of gaming halls, telling him to cut back on all the living that a titled young man is entitled to do. Buzz-kill, right? Plus, her parents pretty much ignored each other.

Sebastian is a member of the Libertine Scholars, a group of rich men who want to gamble and bed women and never settle down. His parents were allegedly a love match, but then one of them had an affair, so the other one had a revenge affair, and they kept on inflicting emotional damage upon each other and screaming in front of the children. This is why Sebastian does not want to marry a pretty woman, or marry for love, because he knows that he will fly into a jealous rage and it will be his parents’ marriage all over again.

Beatrice and Sebastian agree to a marriage of friendship, trust, and respect, but absolutely no L-word. They marry quickly, and Sebastian gently initiates a reluctant Beatrice into marriage bed. That first sex scene was gentle and oh-so-long. I found myself thinking that this was the type of book that a 14-year-old girl could read as her first romance because Sebastian was so careful. The graphic details were surrounded by flowery language and it felt magical.

There is a secondary plot line concerning the other Libertine Scholars that began in the previous book (which I haven’t read) and will presumably carry on until all the men are happily married. It added some suspense and gave the characters an excuse to spend time together. The Epilogue furthered that other plot and gave a teaser for the next book, which is not how I like my Epilogues but maybe I’m just picky.

I mentioned before that this felt like a beginner’s romance novel, and part of it was because of the repetition. The main characters spent a lot of time thinking about their backstory, reinforcing the internal conflict to the reader. The message that “love means never wanting to hurt the other person” was hammered home again and again. Beatrice and Sebastian regressed to the same argument a few too many times. Beatrice had a secret that she knew she should tell, but, “not now, he’s angry,” or “not now, he’s suspicious,” and I definitely wanted to have words with her about timing.

So, I liked the premise, and I liked the characters. But I felt that the language was over-explanatory at times, and that the characters were too much in their own heads. The POV hopped too much for my taste, sometimes mid-scene. My problems with the book are mainly technical, but they did make the whole thing drag down for me.

Rating: B-/C+

*ARC provided by publisher

Click to purchase: Amazon

A Promise of More
by Bronwen Evans
Release Date: April 15, 2014
Publisher: Loveswept

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