List is from publishing house Penguin Random House's email newsletter.
List is from publishing house Penguin Random House's email newsletter.
Some of Ben Sedgwick’s favorite things:
After an unconventional upbringing, Ben is perfectly content with the quiet, predictable life of a country vicar, free of strife or turmoil. When he’s asked to look after an absent naval captain’s three wild children, he reluctantly agrees, but instantly falls for the hellions. And when their stern but gloriously handsome father arrives, Ben is tempted in ways that make him doubt everything.
Some of Phillip Dacre’s favorite things:
Phillip can’t wait to leave England’s shores and be back on his ship, away from the grief that haunts him. But his children have driven off a succession of governesses and tutors and he must set things right. The unexpected presence of the cheerful, adorable vicar sets his world on its head and now he can’t seem to live without Ben’s winning smiles or devastating kisses.
In the midst of runaway children, a plot to blackmail Ben’s family, and torturous nights of pleasure, Ben and Phillip must decide if a safe life is worth losing the one thing that makes them come alive.
Dear Cat Sebastian,
I enjoyed all of your previous works, and for that reason I preordered this book as soon as I saw that Amazon made it available for the preorder. And overall I had a good time with the story. Same as in your previous stories the main characters were so easy to like.
Ben, who became a vicar not necessarily because of being very religious person, but because he thought that this was the best path to do the right thing , to help poor and needy parishioners stole my heart almost from the moment he appeared on page.
I liked him even more when I realized that the man did not take himself too seriously and after I saw him playing with the ducklings (don't ask!) I was a goner and only wanted the best for the guy.
Of course he would agree to look after three motherless children whose father was not back from the sea in a long time, I was pleased to see how well Ben dealt with the children.
As an aside, children characters in the romance book or any book do not usually bother me, unless I do not like how they are written, same way I may enjoy or not enjoy any adult character and I loved all three kids in this story, they felt real to me and I very much wanted them to be happy.
And when Philip comes home the sweet dance begins. Philip may have no clue how to relate to his children after have not seeing them for few years while being at sea and he may be really used to issuing commands, but I liked him too, a lot I have to say.
It was a joy watching him relearning how to interact with the kids and actually getting to know them all over again and of course seeing him and Ben dance around each other and figure out that they cannot be without one another.
This story just as all previous Cat Sebastian's books are low on angst and for me that worked. The characters have issues to overcome, but it was done in a low key way.
Another thing I liked in all previous books by this writer was that the women our characters have to interact with are not cartoonish, not demonized and this book was no exception.
You would ask if I liked everything, why the grade is not higher then? Simple - as much as I enjoyed the plot and the characters interacting and figuring out what to do with their lives, separately as individuals and together as a couple, I expected more creative set up. I know romance has tropes and I know sometimes it is not possible to avoid giving a nod to other creations of popular culture, but this set up read to me as almost being lift up whole sale from "The Sound of Music" and I was disappointed because of that.
I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Phillip has spent most of his life at sea, as the Captain, he knows his place and is effective in managing his people. When his ship finally berths after two years, his shore leave allows him to go home for awhile, a home where letters have informed him that his wife has died and his three children are running wild.
Ben enjoys his job as the vicar; it allows him to see to everyone. When he gets tasked with taking care of the absent Captain's children, he may be in over head.
Phillip and Ben haven't been able to fully admit certain truths to themselves but as their relationship grows, they begin to become whole through each other.
Phillip hadn't planned on lusting after the vicar.
The first in a new series, the author introduces us to Phillip, the stern rigid naval captain and Ben, the affable mellow vicar. Both characters were very contained people in their own way. Phillip has dyslexia but has managed to figure out how to hide it and be effective as captain and he also carries around some melancholy which seems to be due to not being able to fully be his self. Ben had to essentially be the father to his brothers as theirs ascribed to a very bohemian philosophy that led to a lack of structure or responsibility. Both acknowledged their attraction to men but kept it in a contained box that as long as they didn't make it personal, putting real feeling in to it, they could lead "normal" lives. When they meet each other and start to develop those more emotional feelings, beyond just sexual, hard truths have to be recognized.
But comfort and ease suddenly seemed like pale and flimsy things.
I loved how Ben and Phillip's personalities played off each other. Ben's effortless charm and lightness cracked open Phillip's hard walls and helped him be at ease more, while Phillip's strength and willing to prod at Ben helped Ben release his more passionate side. They became more themselves through the other and there is nothing more romantic than that. For how much Phillip's children played a part in the story plot, I thought they were strangely more absent from the story than warranted. We get some scenes with Phillip bonding but I never felt like I knew them; they felt like obvious plot elements instead of woven into the story. I also thought Phillip's relationship with his former Lt. McCarthy needed to be flushed out more. It started off like there was a big emotional attachment but then it seemed to be more on the physical side, not quite fully explained well enough.
"When we're together it feels right. I want to go down that path and see what's there."
"With me?" It was a hoarse whisper.
This is my first book by this author and I was impressed with the ease of her writing flow, how secondary characters felt complete and added so much to the story, and the historical feel. This had faint whisperings of the Sound of Music to it and I could read all day of Ben taking some starch out of the Captain and Phillip igniting some fire in the vicar. There's a slow burn feel as their relationship starts off challenging, to tentative, to heated and I enjoyed how they both were, somewhat, virgins not only emotionally but physically and we got see them explore and learn together. There's also a hot desk scene that you won't want to miss.
I missed interaction scenes with Phillip's children to get to know them better which in turn would have created more depth in Phillip's character, the middle seemed to meander a smidgen as the outer story took over more, but I delighted in Ben and Phillip's relationship. There's some bitter sweetness to the ending as Phillip and Ben don't quite get the full happily ever after they deserve due to the time period and country they live in, but they worked for and got more than most do. The author's talent with emotions will have me searching out her books from here on out.