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Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Review: A Reckless Desire by Isabella Bradford

This one didn't exactly hit a high note with me.

Format: .mobi (A copy of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley for the purpose of an honest review. )
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Release Date: March 1, 2016

Lord Rivers Fitzroy is as charming and sought-after as his rakish elder brothers, though he immerses himself more in dusty books and scholarly pursuits than in bawdy houses. Yet, Hell-bent on making the most of his remaining bachelorhood now that his father insists he marry, Rivers becomes the favorite of a troupe of Italian dancers. One night, after a performance, the handsome lord is challenged with a most provocative wager: Turn the players’ meek and mousy cousin into the first lady of the London stage.

But Lucia di Rossi is not what she seems. Scorned by the rest of her family, Lucia longs for the respect and stardom of a great actress. Rivers’s wager could be the answer to all her hopes—so long as he understands that she wants to be an actress, not his mistress. The two commence her metamorphosis in earnest—even as passion begins to take center stage. As Lucia’s dreams come true, she fears that it may be Rivers, not she, who is the master performer. Is he only making her believe he cares? Has she found the spotlight only to lose her heart—or will the final curtain reveal a love strong enough to last?

Basically the charming Lord Rivers Fitzroy, youngest of the Breconridge brothers is challenged to take Lucia di Rossi, the mousy cousin of a group of Italian dancers, and turn her into the finest actress in London. While Rivers sees it as an easy challenge, Lucia sees it as her only hope to escape her scornful family and achieve her own goals but with all the time the two spend together it isn’t long before more than just business begins to develop.

Okay so I had a hard time with this book. I started it as soon as I got it but I kept having to put it down because it moved too slow for my tastes in terms of character development and the romance between the hero and heroine.

What I did enjoy was Rivers and Lucia as separate characters, not as a couple. They’re almost complete opposites with Rivers being daring and outgoing and Lucia being more quiet and observant. Rivers was irresponsible and basically having one last “huzzah” before really having to settle down into blessed matrimony yet he wasn’t an unlikable guy. There was something charming about him even when he was being a bit dense when it came to his responsibilities. Lucia was a more like a flower just waiting to bloom and while Rivers’ was challenged to turn her into the best actress in London, I wouldn’t give him all the credit for her transformation because the more daring and bold side of her was already there, she just needed a reason to bring them out to play.

The biggest issue I had with A Reckless Desire was that I didn’t feel a real connection between Rivers and Lucia. Their interactions came off a little stale and a lot slow. I didn’t feel like there were any real ‘Wow’ moments between them and that kind of messed up the romance aspect for me which could be a death knell for a book that depends on romance to be a success. In this case the lack of a really great connection between the two lead characters made a huge impact on the rating but because of other details didn’t completely kill my experience.

I can say that the imagery was done well and that it was clear how much research went into creating a somewhat historically accurate and interesting setting for the story itself. That was the more delightful part of this story.

Final Verdict: A Reckless Desire didn’t feel so reckless or desirous to me when it came to Rivers and Lucia’s relationship with each other but separately there were likeable and the way Isabella Bradford constructed the plot was enough to make me want to give another book by this author a try sometime in the future.

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