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Krista Phillips’ The Engagement Plot

The Engagement Plot by [Phillips, Krista]

Six months ago, William stole Hanna’s heart and shattered it in front of millions of people on a reality TV dating show. And now the big-wig CEO is back on Hanna’s home turf in Minnesota and wants her to forgive him? Fat chance of that. But life is swirling around faster than snow in a blizzard, and despite her objections, teaming up with William seems like the only option to rescue her reputation.

William has never regretted anything more than the day he gave that ill-fated interview for the reality show, The Price of Love. But while he can’t change the past, he’s determined to fix the future. He just needs to convince Hanna to forgive him—and pretend to be engaged with him. Simple, right?

When the media erupts with even worse accusations, teaming up and pretending to be engaged seems to be the only way to salvage their reputations.  Despite the media frenzy that swirls around them, an attraction neither of them can fight off begins to surface. Could this love run deeper than a scandal, or will old wounds tear them apart once and for all?  When all seems lost, it’s only with help from above that Hanna and Will may find their happily-ever-after.

Review

I’ve read a book by Krista Phillips that I enjoyed (Sandwich with a Side of Romance) and I was just in the mood for something lighthearted so I picked this book up. My thoughts:

What I liked

The plot. This is a second chance romance, but I found the premise to be so creative. It’s not just about whether a boy and girl can fall in love again but…were they ever really in love in the first place? Also, everyone has heard of shows like The Bachelor even if you don’t watch it so it was really neat to have that added factor to it.

Hanna. I found Hanna to be very relatable. She has to grapple with dealing with her reputation as a Christian (which is a bit in tatters thanks to Will), forgiveness, deception, her feelings for Will, etc. I found many of her reactions and feelings rang true.

It was very lighthearted and warm and very contemporary. Sometimes you need a fun escape and that is what this book provided.

Spiritually, the novel deals with the themes of grace and forgiveness and what that really looks like.

What I didn’t Like

The hero. Will was so shady for most of the book it was hard for me, as a reader to really trust him…even though I knew as a romance reader all would work out. In my opinion, he was just a bit too into himself and even though Hanna had fallen in love with him on the show, I wasn’t entirely sure why she fell in love with him the second time. It just took too long for him to change.

Too long. It’s rare that I complain that a book is too long, but the story should have ended much sooner. I found myself really skimming towards the end.

I doubted greatly that the paparazzi finds reality stars to be that fascinating. I could be wrong but Hanna and Will were followed everywhere and discussed constantly as though they were actual movie stars. I found it a bit hard to believe people would be that invested in them.

Romantic Scale: 7

Overall a very light, cute and fluffy romance.

**I received a copy from Netgalley. My opinion was not affected in anyway.**

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Julie Klassen’s The Ladies of Ivy College

The Ladies of Ivy Cottage (Tales from Ivy Hill Book #2) by [Klassen, Julie]

Return to Ivy Hill in The Ladies of Ivy Cottage as friendships deepen, romances blossom, and mysteries unfold.

Living with the two Miss Groves in Ivy Cottage, impoverished gentlewoman Rachel Ashford is determined to earn her own livelihood . . . somehow. When the village women encourage her to open a subscription library with the many books she has inherited or acquired through donations, Rachel discovers two mysteries hidden among them. A man who once broke her heart helps her search for clues, but will both find more than they bargained for?

Rachel’s friend and hostess, Mercy Grove, has given up thoughts of suitors and fills her days managing her girls’ school. So when several men take an interest in Ivy Cottage, she assumes pretty Miss Ashford is the cause. Exactly what–or who–has captured each man’s attention? The truth may surprise them all.

Meanwhile, life has improved at the coaching inn and Jane Bell is ready to put grief behind her. Now if only the man she misses would return–but where is he?

As the women of Ivy Hill search for answers about the past and hope for the future, might they find love along the way?

Review

I am a huge fan of Julie Klassen. No one does nineteenth century drama quite like her. I mean, she really makes her characters real. At any rate, I was very excited to get my hands on this novel as I really enjoyed the first novel and there were so many loose threads. My thoughts:

What I liked

The series. I read that the author wanted to write a series in a similar vein to the show Cranford. I think she succeeded. If this was a TV show, I would love it. The story is rich and layered and complex. There’s a history in this town with positive and negative relations. Like an onion, every layer is slowly peeled back. Some characters you will like, others you will dislike, but you cannot deny that you will feel like you know them well.

Rachel. I will admit that my first reaction to having Rachel as the main narrator was one of slight disappointment. I really liked being in Jane Bell’s head. However, Rachel grew on me and I found her to be just as interesting as Jane. Like Jane she is changing class and learning all that that encompasses. She also finds herself at the center of a small mystery and unraveling it forces her (and others) to confront some ugly truths.

Mercy. I found her to be so relatable even though I’m clearly not in her shoes. She’s very independent for her day and time and yet still desires a family and a home. The things she goes through in an effort to get them are at times, heartbreaking. I have a suspicion she might be the focus of book three.

 What I didn’t Like

The guy Rachel ends up with was so passive. He kept waiting for her to signal that she wanted him as though he didn’t live in a society where men had most of the power when it came to romantic relations.

There wasn’t enough Gabriel and Jane.

Also I am not terribly fond of the direction a certain someone’s story line is headed in and I hope the matter is resolved quickly in book 3.

Romantic Scale: 7.8

Overall, a very good sequel and I’m looking forward to the next one!

** I received a copy from Netgalley. My opinion was not affected in anyway.**