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Thursday, November 17, 2016

Review: A Season of Ruin by Anna Bradley

Those Sutherlands are certainly something else!

Format: .mobi (A copy of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley for the purpose of an honest review. )
Publisher: Berkley Romance
Release Date: August 2, 2016

Lily Somerset’s plan for the London season is simple: courtship, marriage to a respectable gentleman, then the comfortable existence of a proper Lady. That is, until one tiny misstep leaves Lily on the edge of social ruin, forcing her to depend on a wicked rogue to save her reputation.

Robyn Sutherland doesn’t save reputations—he sullies them. He'd rather be drawn and quartered than find himself spending the season as Lily's escort. But he has no choice but to stay until her tattered standing is mended.

What begins as a ruse to deceive London soon flames into an uncontrollable passion. Robyn calls to the wild spirit that lurks beneath Lily’s prim exterior, and Lily awakens the hero’s heart within Robyn. But can these unlikely lovers trust themselves enough to let desire overrule reason?

Lily’s perfectly planned London season basically goes to hell in a hand basket when a social misstep lands her on the front pages of a notorious gossip column. Her “partner in crime?” None other than Robyn Sutherland, wicked rogue, ruiner of ladies, and now, Lily’s only hope of salvaging what’s left her reputation. The plan is simple: Robyn will act as Lily’s escort for the whole season in order to squash any talk of impropriety between the two but Robyn isn’t known for keeping promises or saving anyone, until now. Spending so much time with Lily is starting to make him want to be a hero and Lily is starting to want to spend more and more time with him as well.

Robyn is every bit the irresponsible character that society paints him as… But wait! There’s a really believable and good explanation for his listless, useless behavior but unfortunately it isn’t revealed until very late in the book where it doesn’t do him much good in a reader’s opinion. I loved Robyn, even though he spent a lot of time being reckless, selfish, and irresponsible but that’s because I had a feeling there was more to his behavior than just “Second Son Syndrome.” However it would have been nice to know the why early on just so I could feel sympathy towards him in addition to liking him. He was an entertaining character and his strongest trait was that he genuinely loved his family but he didn’t know how to show it which again goes with the reason why Robyn was the way he was. I enjoyed his transformation from selfish man-child to full blown hero and stealer of hearts.

Lily kind of dragged things down a bit for me. The problem with Lily was that she was too bland. She was so caught up in being the model miss and bringing her best behavior to all the social events that she forgot her personality at home for about 90% of the book. At least I’m hoping she forgot her personality and not that that prim, boring miss was her personality. I did expect more from her as a character. I expected her real personality to come out way more when she and Robyn would argue but she didn’t even raise her voice, much less deliver memorable responses to his constant needling. She rarely even defended herself when confronted with the harpies of London society. I was hoping for a spitfire with a sharp tongue and a hidden bold streak but alas, that wasn’t Lily at all. She was alright but nothing really impressive.

As a couple Robyn and Lily spent about the first quarter of the book bickering with each other which was fine but I noticed that Robyn had a bit of a “pulling pigtails on the school playground” attitude. It was juvenile the way he poked at Lily and lost me after the first couple of interactions. However, there was a scene in which Robyn started to see that Lily wasn’t going to survive society if he kept up his reckless behavior that I think was key to his behavior changing towards Lily. He kept up his teasing but the tone of it shifted into a more flirtatious overtone mixed with concern for her wellbeing and happiness. That’s when things changed for the better between them. I liked their interactions, and that it was Robyn who forced her to take a good look at where her life was headed if she kept up the prim and proper miss routine. At the same time though, Lily forced Robyn to grow up and take responsibility for himself and his decisions. All in all an interesting balance between the two.

With Robyn’s elder brother Alec and now Robyn himself finding love, it leaves Robyn’s sisters Charlotte and Eleanor to find their own happiness and let’s not forget Lily’s three younger sisters. But if I had to pick a supporting character that would then get their own book, I would pick Robyn’s friend Lord Archibald. He seems like an interesting mix of kind hearted friend and naughty rogue. Anna Bradley took the time to give most of the supporting cast some page time so it felt like I was meeting new friends and having fun along with them. It was also nice to check in with Alec and Delia too since I really enjoyed their story. I have to say that the character that brought the laughs, Lord Pelkey, should have had more page time since his bawdy humor and blunt way of speaking appealed to my own sense of humor.

Final Verdict: A Season of Ruin opened up a wealth of possibilities for the remaining characters while still giving Robyn and Lily time for their romance to develop and take hold. They were the last two I’d pick to pair up but in the end, they ended up being perfect for each other.

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