My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Category: Romance – Historical
Setting: 1894, New York & Newport, RI
I have to admit that I picked up this book because I saw Janet Evanovich was one of the authors. I never even read the book jacket. I figured it would be good for a few laughs as Evanovich is one of the funnier contemporary romance authors. I was completely taken by surprise to discover that this is a history novel set at the turn of the century.
This story is loosely connected to Love in a Nut Shell, also penned by Evanovich/Kelly, which introduced us to the Culhane family. With this new novel the authors step back in time to tell us about young bachelor, Jack Culhane. Jack’s an Irish beer brewer from a “new money” family who is only concerned with building up his business and having a good time with his friends, until he discovers himself attracted to his best friend’s little sister, Caroline Maxwell.
Problem is that Caroline’s mother is determined to marry her daughter to a titled English aristocrat with an old world title. Caroline doesn’t want to disappoint her parents, but she has known for a long-time that her heart is set on Jack. While Caroline goes through the motions of preparing for a summer in Newport where her mother plans to marry her off to the highest title she can find, Caroline is really doing everything she can to spend time with Jack, who her mother can barely tolerate.
The Husband List wasn’t laugh out loud funny, but there was definitely some humor and wit throughout the novel. Neither the hero nor heroine took themselves too seriously so their internal dialogue was filled with all the things they really wanted to say out loud by couldn’t. Sometimes humorous, sometimes a little snarky. I love when authors show characters with real emotions. Let’s face it – a little uncontrollable jealousy never hurts in a romance novel.
It will be interesting to see if Evanovich/Kelly continues writing about the Culhane family. There is certainly potential storylines with Caroline’s family as well. Although I found Caroline’s younger twin sisters to be annoyingly spoiled, maybe they’ll mature into nice young ladies with a knack for getting into trouble like their older sister. Love changes people after all.
Contemporary Romances by Janet Evanovich include:
- One for the Money, published June 2006 (Book #1 in the Stephanie Plum series)
- Rocky Road to Romance, published August 2004 (stand-alone title)
- Wicked Business, published June 2012 (Book #2 of the Lizzy & Diesel series)
Romances by Dorien Kellly with bad boy heroes include:
- The Last Bride in Ballymuir, published February 2003 (Book #1 of Ballymuir series)
- Do Over, published November 2003 ((Harlequin Flipside #3)