Did you all survive April Fool's Day or did you get pranked? I totally got pranked. Three times! It was embarrassing, you'd think that at 30 I'd be smart enough to spot a trick coming a mile away but no. Lol, anyway, who here has read Erica Ridley? Do you like historical romances where the hero is a soldier suffering with survivor's guilt?
Format: .epub (provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review)
Publisher: Intrepid Reads
Release Date: March 2, 2015
Captain Xavier Grey's body is back amongst the beau monde, but his mind cannot break free from the horrors of war. His friends try to help him find peace. He knows he doesn't deserve it. Just like he doesn't deserve the attentions of the sultry bluestocking intent on seducing him into bed...
Spinster Jane Downing wants off the shelf and into the arms of a hot-blooded man. Specifically, the dark and dangerous Captain Grey. She may not be destined to be his wife, but nothing will stop her from being his mistress. She could quote classical Greek by the age of four.
How hard can it be to learn the language of love?
Author Erica Ridley is back with the second book in her Dukes of War series, and this time, the heroine won’t take “no” for an answer.
Jane Downing isn’t going to take this “spinster” business lying down. Unless of course, it’s with a man. Specifically a man named Xavier. She doesn’t expect to become his wife but his mistress? Well nothing is going to stop her from achieving that goal. Even if it means following him to his cottage with no one to accompany her except a cat.
Captain Xavier Grey may look like he’s recovered from the horrors of war on the outside, but in his mind he is still trapped among the dead and dying. His never ending guilt makes him believe that he doesn’t deserve peace or happiness, two things that Jane can provide.
The Captain’s Bluestocking Mistress was something of a romantic comedy for me. Jane was an intelligent woman with a few “unsavory” skills, like being able to quote classical Greek (Egad that was a no no back in those days), make her own decisions and saying whatever comes to mind. That said, when someone like Jane sets her sights on someone like the withdrawn, brooding Captain Grey, there’s bound to be some trouble! It was difficult not to smile when it came to Jane and her ideas. Back then, an unmarried woman of a certain age was supposed to be some sort of boring aunt like figure to any and all younger girls. These spinster women were definitely not supposed to be thought of as flesh and blood women, even though they were. I admired Jane for not settling for what society wanted for her. She wanted to experience passion at least once in her life and she was damn well going to get what she wanted and from whomever she wanted. Captain Grey never stood a chance.
As far as the romance goes, it was sweet, spicy and passionate all at once. Xavier and Jane did know each other prior to his going to war and she’s adored him ever since. She’s never forgotten him, or the kindness of his friends. Jane’s goal shifted sometime during the story. She went from being determined to seduce Xavier for her own reasons to wanting to save him from himself. This did change the dynamic of their growing relationship from just physical to something deeper. Though the themes of war, survivor’s guilt and PTSD are present in The Captain’s Bluestocking Mistress, it isn’t a dark story. It has its grittier moments but with Jane’s penchant for saying exactly what’s on her mind, she managed to steer scenes into lighter territory. I loved the serious side and the playful side of Jane since they were both important to the story and to Xavier’s recovery.
If you’re wondering where the comedy bit came in, well it came in the form of a cat named Egui. He had a habit of breaking up any building tension between Xavier and Jane if you know what I mean. As horrible as this cat could be some times, his antics were amusing, at least to an animal lover like me.
Considered a long novella at around 45, 000 words, The Captain’s Bluestocking Mistress was a pretty quick read for me. It started off a little slow but soon picked up and kept my interest until the end. I do wish that Xavier and Jane had had more time to delve further into Xavier’s experience in the war since it is part of what led him to change and become a recluse.
Final Verdict: If you're looking for something a little longer than a regular novella but not quite as long as a novel, then The Captain's Bluestocking Mistress may be a story you'll enjoy.