In for a Penny by Rose Lerner

21 Mar
What a sweet book this was. You know what’s refreshing? A hero and heroine who are both genuinely nice. No shenanigans, no traits to overcome, no hideous pasts. Just two people who marry out of necessity and fall in love later – there are Big Misunderstandings of course (there’s got to be some kind of conflict), but it was relaxing to just let the ebb and flow of the inner workings of a mature relationship lead to a satisfying resolution. Go Rose Lerner!

Lord Nevinstoke (Nev for short) is what I would call a beta hero. He doesn’t brood and isn’t tortured, and he doesn’t yell or ravish his lady with his overwhelming man lust. He’s a normal guy, though an aristocrat, who has spent far too much of his adult life flitting from amusement to amusement, accompanied by his mistress and two friends. However, when his father dies in disgrace, leaving Nev to care for his mother and sister with the proceeds of an impoverished estate, Nev decides to grow up and fast. Key to this decision is Penelope Brown, a “cit” heiress who is looked down upon by those with old money. Penny and Nev instantly like each other, but neither is under any illusions that their marriage is anything other than one of convenience and necessity, and they both just hope to “rub along together.” After moving to their country estate to try to turn it around, Nev and Penny encounter villainous neighbors, riotous tenants, and prejudice against Penny from Nev’s family.

I loved the more realistic slow burn relationship here. Nev doesn’t jump Penny on their wedding night (though one suspects she wouldn’t have been averse). Instead, they let their familiarity with each other grow and the sexual tension build. They have surprisingly hot chemistry when they don’t let their brains get in the way, and that’s the crux of the book for me. Though there was TONS of interesting stuff about tenant relations, estate finances, and class differences (I know, that sounds crazy, but I was totally into it! Again, go Rose Lerner for making that fascinating!), the main tension came from the ins and outs of Penny and Nev’s growing relationship. Both are plagued by doubt and insecurity, and they frequently interpret each others’ actions in the most muddled way. They’re both such kind people with such a honest connection that you pull for them to figure it out, man up, and love each other. A very satisfying read indeed.

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