An impromptu parent… The Honorable Miles Tame is not pleased his sister Jocelyn dumped his almost fifteen-year-old niece onto his doorstep. He has absolutely no idea what to do with a young lady—or any sort of young person for that matter. When he arrives at the school to re-trieve Emily, he literally runs into the efficient and highly kissable Miss Pennyroyal.
A surprise invitation… Miss Phoebe Pennyroyal is the headmistress of an academy for young ladies in Brighton. She’s a widow with a sixteen-year-old son, looking forward to summer holi-days so she can read the pile of scandalous novels confiscated from her students. But a last mi-nute plea to play companion to Emily as well as attend a house party to celebrate the girl’s birth-day sends her into a tither.
An unexpected romance… What follows next is one week filled with bouts of rain, bored young people and madcap scrapes only adolescents could enjoy—except it’s their adult chaperones who tumble into a few slightly improper meetings which make both Miles and Phoebe think perhaps they aren’t too old for love after all.
This blurb is about as long as the story (about 85 pages). This review is going to be hard to write, as there was some things I really want to praise the author for but overall, this was a 2.5 star read at best.
What I liked - the hero and heroine are older (mid- and late thirties - for Regency, that is older romance). Miles was a good brother and sometimes overindulged his niece, but he saw the pain both his sister and niece were in and decided to help by freeing his sister from the motherhood role. Phoebe was a nice departure from the typical "pretty girl at a ballroom" heroine that is usually found in Regencies. I really liked Phoebe's backstory and it made her much more realistic. Also - no ballrooms were used in this story! I really liked Miles and Phoebe together; they had good chemistry and the dialogue was smart, if not snappy.
The author (Sarah Vicks) does a great job invoking time and place once again; for this book, the place is Brighton (yay! a non-London book setting!) and the time is the summer in the year now known to historians as the Year Without Summer. You could smell, taste, and feel the salty air and water of the Brighton coastline. You can feel the cold and dampness from too much rain/cloud cover/cold temperatures of the abnormal weather pattern. I really felt like I was there. (In a previous book, Ms. Vicks did a great job in bringing British India to life.)
Strong MCs and strong settings. The author shows a lot of potential. Which leads me to what I don't like - namely, the bitch of a niece that was Emily. Someone please high five Emily. To the face. With a chair. I also don't like the insta-love trope; this time, it was a full week before an engagement was given and accepted. I don't think novellas/short stories is this author's format.
I am not interested in reading any more books in this series, but I am willing to try this author again with a different book.