“Give her books, where other people did all the running around and courting; it was far easier to read about such matters than to experience them herself.”
This is the first romance novel I’ve actually read all the way through, unless you count Outlander. And I can safely say I was thoroughly surprised and delighted.
Most romance novels are so annoying and contrived, all about the heated moments and not about the characters for one second. To be honest this book didn’t strike me as a typical romance novel at all. That being said, I obviously haven’t read many and my opinion is biased on the fact that I don’t enjoy tons of sex and no depth in the books I read, but this book didn’t fit into that category. Yes, the book was solely about romance, but more what I would consider a real romance, the characters in this book were hardly trying to tear each others clothes off, it was more about their development as individuals, facilitated by being forced into an unconventional marriage together.
Having a dual narrative, although always told from third person, really helped flesh out the characters nicely and everything felt well developed. I liked that the characters had flaws, especially Isaac. It was nice not to meet a perfect hero who comes in a sweeps the girl off her feet, quite the opposite in fact. He was a hero who had real problems and made real mistakes, but Ruth exposed him and made him want to change, but it was nice to see how change doesn’t come quickly or easily. Ruth and Isaac both had flaws, in different ways, and that made them feel like more realistic characters. And the way that their relationship unfolded felt perfectly natural in the book as well, given the time period the book was going for and the damaged emotional nature of the characters. Even at the end I liked the fact that the characters weren’t completely perfect and still retained a lot of their original selves, it was more true to how a real romance would unfold.
Overall this was a wonderful book and I was pleasantly surprised that I liked it so much. The only reason I gave it four stars instead of five was actually because I felt that it could’ve used a few more chapters at the end to really tie off the stories, but that being said it was still a lovely ending. The characters were complex and realistic, the romance was beautiful and I was happy to find a romance novel that didn’t make me want to put it down after the first few pages. I would recommend this to anyone who wants a fun, page-turning read that will leave you smiling when you finish the last chapter.
*I was given a free copy of this book through NetGalley from Carina UK in exchange for an honest review.*