Off the top of my head I can only think of three possibly four really good historical romances authors. I am always trying out new books looking for that next author I can just gush over. Not Proper Enough by Carolyn Jewel just might have given me a new author to love.
Lady Eugenia hates the Marquess of Fenris. Ever since the day he called her a blowsy girl to anyone who would listen she has thought he was a cruel, unfeeling brute. He also attempted to ruin her true chance at happiness. Eugenia was set to marry Fenris’ best friend and Fenris made it clear he did not think she was good enough.
For his part, Fenris was young and dumb. He made the mistake of listening to his grandfather’s opinion about Eugenia. This was before he knew better, knew better to not listen to his grandfather and knew better that Eugenia was the one woman for him. By that time it was too late. Eugenia and his best friend were head over heels for each other and he was left with two fractured relationships. Four years after the death of his best friend, Fenris knows he will have only a slim chance at convincing Eugenia he can be the man for her. Fenris will use everything at his disposal to bring her around including her long dormant sensuality.
This was a really good book with really great characters. Fenris was such a complicated man. He almost had two personas. Outwardly, to Eugenia, he was a confident, bored jerkish aristocrat. Inside he was bumbling and scared to do or say the wrong thing that would chase Eugenia away. I loved the two sides of him. And I loved how sometimes he couldn’t help himself and he would just blurt out what he was thinking. He would tell Eugenia he loved her or ask her to marry him just because he couldn’t help it. He wanted Eugenia so badly and had waited so long for this opportunity that he was scared to blow it yet he knew he had to push her.
Eugenia is so confident in her hatred of Fenris she encourages him to do his worst. She believes she will marry again and thinks she can have a second chance at love but is pretty certain it won’t be with Fenris. She expends more energy trying to dislike him than she does with pretty much anything else she does.
Fenris tries his best to toe the line between pushing Eugenia for more and just letting her figure things out on his own. He is desperate for Eugenia. He wants her in his life for the rest of his life. He is able to push her into a very sensual sexual relationship but despairs of ever really having her love.
She was going to fall in love with some other man. He’d let her use him, willingly, and what she’d learned from him was not that he loved her, but that she could break away from her widowhood and be happy.
It is always an interesting book when the man is the one pining for the woman. In this case I felt for Fenris. He had been in love with her for so long that I didn’t want to see him lose this chance.
There were two things that kept this book from being just about perfect. One was the trope of one of our characters having already found the love of their life. I do not like that type of plot. Call me fanciful, but I like our hero a heroine to find love for the very first time with each other. In this case, Eugenia so loved Robert that there was almost not room for anyone else. There was a scene where Fenris and Eugenia are in the heat of the moment and Eugenia says:
“You’re not Robert.” Her eyes flashed. “It doesn’t matter how good you are with your cock, you’ll never be Robert.”
Ouch. Fenris never claimed to want to be Robert so this felt so much like Eugenia lashing out at him for daring to make her feel again. I ached for Fenris at this point even though he took the quote in stride.
The second thing I didn’t like was how Eugenia came to the realization she loved Fenris. It came after a life altering event and pretty much out of nowhere. I think Ms. Jewel attempted to show a build up of how Eugenia came to love Fenris but after hearing her say so many times how much she didn’t like him the “I love you” wasn’t as believable as I wanted it to be. I adored Fenris and he openness and honesty with Eugenia so much that I wished we would have seen something similar from her sooner than the last couple pages of the book.
Still even with the two things I didn’t care for this is a very good book. So good that as soon as I was done I went back and bought the first book in the series and plan on reading it soon. I highly recommend all historical romance lovers go out and pick up this book. You will not be disappointed. Final grade-B+
God help her, she knew in her soul that Fenris would be magnificent in bed.