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Thursday, February 11, 2016

Review: An Affair in Autumn by Jennifer Haymore

Huh, how did I even miss this one?? I need a proper scolding for not knowing that a House of Trent story was out.

Format: .mobi (A copy of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley for the purpose of an honest review. )
Publisher: Jennifer Haymore (Self Published)
Release Date: February 1, 2016


The duke has died. Long live the duke! The only problem is no one knows who the new Duke of Beckworth is. All of England wonders, but no one more so than the people who depend upon Beckworth for their livelihood. In 1816, a year so cold that the word “summer” is a cruel joke, that livelihood is even more uncertain. However, they are all about to find out, with the duke away, there is nothing more warming than scandal and love…

On a mission to locate the missing Duke of Beckworth, Lord Markus Hawkins boards a ship bound for America, where he finds himself trapped in close quarters with his childhood friend-turned-enemy, Caroline Addison.

Caro is headstrong, frustrating, selfish, wickedly intelligent, and so damn beautiful Mark can’t see straight when she’s near. Torn between wanting to kiss her senseless and wanting to strangle her, Mark has no idea how he’s going to survive the torture of the long weeks ahead.

So as the mystery of the missing duke continues, Lord Markus Hawkins (Of the Hawkins family, i.e. The House of Trent series) boards a ship headed towards America to look for the new Duke of Beckworth only to realize that his childhood friend now enemy Caroline Addison is also onboard. The weeks it takes to reach America are either going to bring Markus and Caro to an understanding or that much closer to strangling each other.

I don’t know how I missed out on this particular and rather unique idea. Five authors writing individual novellas surrounding one event: The death of the Duke of Beckworth and the question of who is the next duke. Each author tells a different part of the search for the missing heir to the dukedom and An Affair in Autumn takes two former enemies and gives them a chance at love.

I LOVE the Hawkins family because despite their scandalous parents’ tumultuous marriage the Markus and his five siblings love and protect each other fiercely even when they don’t agree on something. It literally is them against the world and their bond is something I enjoy because it shaped each one of them differently.

Markus is still dealing with the fallout of his family secrets and because of that he feels he has something to prove everyone. He’s a bit arrogant, a touch bitter and a lot angry which make his interactions with Caro petty and childish in the beginning. Complicating matters was his history with Caro. They were two parts of a triangle friendship/love with Nathaniel Hughes and while they were very close when they were young, a series of misunderstandings and secrets split them apart and turned the secret love Markus had for Caro into a twisted love/hate feeling. I liked Markus but at times he was entirely too childish, particularly when it came to Caro and he lashed out a lot.

And Caro was so secretive. She allowed for Markus to continue with his assumptions about her character and snipe at her to the point where I became upset with how nasty he was being. Yet Caro didn’t immediately correct him with the truth. What saved Caro in my eyes was that she didn’t let him get away with being rude to her, she gave as good as she got and matched Markus’ insults with a few of her own. Their clashes began as a who could cut who the deepest game then changed into a sexually charged one upmanship which turned An Affair in Autumn from a story about two bickering former friends into a combustible reunion between two adults who never forgot each other. As a couple it was clear that they were better suited than even they believed and I enjoyed their chemistry once it went from trying to get back at one another to fighting their long standing attraction.

Given that An Affair in Autumn is a novella, I’m not entirely sure what purpose the additional characters, in particular Owen, served. Had this been a full length novel there would have been more time to develop the Owen angle but it wasn’t and it felt a little too stuffed for a novella. I rather liked it when it was just Markus and Caro working out their issues and falling in love.

Final Verdict: This novella, while part of a five novella series about a missing duke can be read as a standalone and is quite enjoyable however I didn’t get that “House of Trent” feeling given that Markus IS a Hawkins family member.

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