After my just-okay historical romance read of last week, which I reviewed on NetGalley and not the blog, followed by a historical romance that I ended up DNFing in a case of I’m-sure-it’s-just-me-and-not-the-book, I was happy to dig into a book — do I need to say it was a historical romance? — that was enjoyable right from the start.
Gentlemen Prefer Mischief by Emily Greenwood was a lot of fun, mainly because I loved the two main characters, Hal and Lily. They had known each other from when they were young and now Hal was the viscount and lived a loose and carefree life, while Lily was trying to make something of herself, even if it made her look like a stuffy, uptight governess (which she wasn’t). It was fun to see the two navigate not only their life, but each other, neither of them thinking they deserved the other, or that they were right for one another.
Of course, since they knew each other from the past, part of the fun came from how honest they were with one another. Not only did Hal come across as a giant ass in some parts of the story, but Lily wasn’t a quiet mouse, either. They really had it at each other — in more than one way, wink wink — and while parts of their dialogue had me wondering where the romance was (seriously, it was there in spades, but just so much arguing!), it was refreshing to see a story where it wasn’t ALL swooning.
Not only that, but there was another love story going on in the background with Hal’s sister Eloise. THAT story was a lot of fun, especially since Eloise was an almost-shallow 16-year-old who wanted the prettiest boy in the room, despite the fact that he wanted nothing to do with her. It was great to see both Lily and Hal help her figure out how to woo the right man for her.
The only reason I didn’t completely fall head over heels for this story is that there’s this substory going on with a childhood friend of Lily’s, Nate. He’s trying to search the woods by Hal’s house for a buried family treasure — but the light he casts in the woods spooks the sheep and the people of the town think that it’s haunted. That story was just kind of in the background and while it was what initially intrigued me in the beginning (ooh, ghosts!) it kind of fell flat by the end. I was more interested in the story of Lily and Hal, or of Eloise than I was of the Woods Fiend.
This is my favourite kind of historical romance, full of humour and wonderful characters, as well as plenty of romance. Much better than the previous two I had tried. I think I liked it mostly because it didn’t have the strong man character and the weakling female character — instead they were both strong characters with firm opinions, neither of them afraid to share them with one another. It was fun to watch them butt heads throughout the story!
This is the second book in a series, so I’m definitely intrigued to go back and read the first one now.
Thank you to Sourcebooks Casablanca and NetGalley for providing me a review copy of this book!
Have you ever seen something and thought it was a ghost when it wasn’t? Does your town have any supernatural stories to go along with it?