So who here is a Cathy Maxwell fan? This is my first full length novel and let me tell you, it sure was an experience!!
New York Times Bestselling Author, Cathy Maxwell spends hours in front of her computer pondering the question, “Why do people fall in love?” It remains for her the great mystery of life and the secret to happiness. She lives in beautiful Virginia with children, horses, dogs, and cats.
Format: .mobi (A copy of this book was provided by the publisher via Edelweiss for the purpose of an honest review. )
Release Date: November 25, 2015
In New York Times bestselling author Cathy Maxwell's glittering new series, wedding bells are ringing… until the return of a rake throws a bride's plans— and heart—into a tailspin.
Every debutante aspires to snag a duke. Elin Morris just happens to have had one reserved since birth. But postponements of her marriage to London's most powerful peer give Elin time to wonder how she will marry Gavin Baynton when she cannot forget his brother, Benedict.
Already exasperated at being yanked from the military to meet "family obligations," now Ben must suffer watching his arrogant sibling squire the only woman he has ever loved. Joining the army saved Ben from sinking into bitterness, but seeing Elin again takes him back to the day they surrendered to their intoxicating desire.
As the wedding draws near, Elin tries to push Ben far from her thoughts. When danger brings them together, there is no denying their feelings. But can Elin choose love over duty...?
The Match of the Century isn’t just Benedict and Elin’s story, it is Benedict’s brother Gavin’s story too and that made the entire book stand out to me. Yes it’s a love triangle but it’s also a story about three people who live, learn and love over a period of time that isn’t always rainbows and kittens. There is a huge amount of character growth because the story takes place over a long period of time. Close to two years I believe, and in that time the characters experience love, jealousy, betrayal and loss, but with all those strong emotions came a more broad viewpoint which included more consideration for others around them and of course a new found maturity.
The one character who underwent the biggest change in my opinion was Benedict. When he first came barging back into Elin’s life he was an uncivilized, angry, and selfish man. I understood and sympathized with his position but it was clear he was fighting a losing battle to win Elin. If he wanted to be worth the scandal it would cause if Elin jilted his brother, Benedict had to change and it wasn’t going to be easy or come overnight.
Normally such a long timeline in a romance would bug me, not because I want a fast solution but because it could drag an entire story into dullsville but with The Match of the Century, the lengthy timeline made sure that each character had a chance to grow, change and experience life altering events that would shock them into facing their own personal truths because all three characters, Gavin, Elin and Benedict were simply existing instead of living their lives. Cathy Maxwell pulled off something that I have only read and enjoyed once before and that’s a long timeline in a romance.
For the first half of the book I found Gavin to be very one dimensional. I saw him as Benedict saw him and I didn’t know what to make of the man who was Benedict’s competition. It wasn’t until the second half of the book that the author let me know Gavin the man and he was just as complex as his brother.
It wasn’t until then that I began to sympathize with Gavin and think Maybe he isn’t so wrong for Elin, if they could just fall in love with each other maybe it could work for them. I felt for this character, he was trapped in a role that he couldn’t escape, he was estranged from his only surviving brother and he didn’t really know how to treat his fiancé. Gavin was an example of a rich, powerful man whom society respected yet who didn’t have the simplest, most necessary things in life: A close relationship with his brother or mother, true friends or a woman he loved. The “love triangle” took on a different tone after that because most love triangles have that one character that is unlikable and will allow readers to favor the obvious victor but in this case, especially in the second half of the book, neither Gavin nor Benedict was unlikable or an easy man to eliminate. Maxwell created sympathy for both men, and they both deserved Elin yet at the same time they weren’t fighting for her, they were competing against each other.
I could go on forever about how well developed The Match of the Century was in terms of its three leading characters but then it would turn into an essay so I’ll just say that I was pleasantly surprised by how attached I became to Gavin, Elin and Benedict and while the ending was a happy one, the journey there was a difficult one for them but one that was far more interesting than I ever thought it would be.
Final Verdict: Lengthy and emotionally engaging, The Match of the Century is one of the most well written, character driven romance novels I’ve ever read. Pick this book up only when you have plenty of time to devote to it as it is a long story but well worth the time investment.
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