Title: The Trouble with Honor (The Cabot Sisters #1)
Author: Julia London
Genre: Regency Romance
Publisher: Harlequin (February 25, 2014)
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Desperate times call for daring measures as Honor Cabot, the eldest stepdaughter of the wealthy Earl of Beckington, awaits her family’s ruin. Upon the earl’s death she and her sisters stand to lose the luxury of their grand home – and their place on the pedestal of society – to their stepbrother and his social-climbing fiancée. Forced to act quickly, Honor makes a devil’s bargain with the only rogue in London who can seduce her stepbrother’s fiancée out of the Cabots’ lives for good.
An illegitimate son of a duke, George Easton was born of scandal and grows his fortune through dangerous risks. But now he and Honor are dabbling in a perilous dance of seduction that puts her reputation and his jaded heart on the line. And as unexpected desire threatens to change the rules of their secret game, the stakes may become too high even for a notorious gambler and a determined, free-spirited debutante to handle.
It’s no secret that Julia London likes to place her characters in impossible situations just to see how they wiggle their way out of it and those are the situations I too, as a reader, most enjoy. This isn’t my first historical romance book, however, after falling head over heels for another just a couple of weeks ago, I had to see if Mrs. London would be another author added to my ”yes” list.
In this story we meet Honor Cabot. A very stubborn and vocal young woman who’s family is currently facing some dire situation if the current plans and marriage arrangements in place come to fruition. Honor knows she has the ability to draw a man’s attention but the one man she basically prayed for is the one man who did quite return her sentiments. Now she must use her assets along with her sense of wit in order to derail an upcoming marriage and buy her mother and three younger sisters more time before their one and only source of financial security, the Earl of Beckington, is taken from them. To make matters worse, the other woman- Monica Hargrove- who’s on the move to do exactly that is the same woman who’s sought to make Honor’s social life a troublesome one and has her eye on the one thing Honor is trying to protect. The lack of kinship between these two is evident within the first 2 chapters but why isn’t quite revealed. To make matters worse, her mother is showing evidence of a sickness herself and if the earl dies and she is ill, who would marry her and take care of her daughters? Honor takes it upon herself to concoct a plan which she believes will solve everything but at what cost?
Enter the bastard son of a duke, George Easton. He’s a confident man who, although his lineage is not written, takes risks and gambles constantly as if to prove he doesn’t need a society place in order to be someone. He is also well known amongst the ladies and has certainly played in that field plenty, earning him a small, gossip-worthy reputation. Although he’s confident in who and what he is, what he’s unprepared for is Honor Cabot and scheming ways.
The beginning of this story started out with flair. Chapter 1 brings us right into the gambling hall and right to the table with the most action where Honor, doing very un-ladylike gambling, manages to play her game perfectly and walk away with a large sum and the admiration of many men standing in the room. She’s confident but coy here and I immediately thought this was going to be a great story. I was somewhat wrong. I realize Regency romance has to have a bit of detail added in to set the scene and time however, I felt the shift to the home life situation happened too fast and perhaps Honor’s financial predicament could have been left in the shadows for a while longer to add to the intrigue and help overshadow her actions. Nonetheless, within a few chapters the plot is unfolded and for a moment I thought things would shift and Honor would finally see that what she was doing was incredibly selfish (and from my understanding, not behavior typical of a lady of that time) but instead she continued on with plans to ruin her step-brother’s marriage and secure the earl’s finances for herself, her mother, and three sisters. By around halfway through I found myself annoyed with her and silently wishing she’d turn a corner when I turned the page.
George Easton was built on a somewhat unsteady foundation but as the story went along, I found myself liking him even if he was being tossed about by Miss Cabot. He’s a strong character who stood out the most for me and there was one point I was actually mentally cheering for him just to go with his gut and not overthink and grab her. I know that sounds silly but when you are obnoxiously annoyed with the female lead, sometime you just want the hero to slap the snot out of her!
Even though my journey through this story was peppered with rolling eyes, frustrated groans, and shaking fists, it wasn’t completely unpleasant. Sure, Honor Cabot irritated me to the core but I’d rather have that reaction to a character than not feel anything about them. I will admit that at times I felt the chemistry between George and Honor and then other times I was just a third-party observer which was a new and different experience for me. With historical romance books, usually the desires and lust are quietly tucked below the surface but evident and felt and eventually come to a boiling point but here that formula didn’t happen. I’m not sure if that was Mrs. London’s intention but nevertheless, that’s what happened between my pages. Also, I found myself wanting to know more about Grace, Prudence, and Mercy so I’m looking forward to seeing what their stories are and whether or not I will have the same reaction to them as I did to Honor.
I would recommend this book to those historical romance readers who are looking for their patience to be tested. And for those who have never read a book in this genre, this is not a completely dull book filled with society details but has enough so that you can have the right mindset for the time-period. However, if you’re looking for a historical romance that will set your heart on fire, this may not be the one as it did not have that effect on me.
**This book was provided to me by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. No compensation was offered or received and all opinions expressed here are my own.**
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