After an eight year engagement to Piers Brandon, the Marquess of Granville, Clio wants out. She has recently inherited a castle and has big plans for her future. The only problem is that the Marquess has been out of the country for months and has no expected return date. Champion fighter Rafe needs his brother, the Marquess, to get married, so he takes control of planning the wedding while his brother is abroad.
Spoiler Free Review:
I have very neutral feelings about this book. I really loved some things about it, but I also really disliked some things. This book is definitely my least favorite Tessa Dare book so far.
The whole setup of the romance is not a trope I enjoy. Clio has know Rafe and Piers since they were kids, so it was natural that she would have a semi-arranged marriage with Piers. I do not like brothers competing for a love interest, and while they weren’t actually competing in this book, it still had the same vibe. I also don’t really enjoy childhood friends to lovers, it just doesn’t do it for me.
The pacing of this book felt weird to me, since it didn’t really seem to follow the “formula” of other Tessa Dare books I’ve read. It definitely wasn’t exactly what I was expecting, so that threw me a little bit.
Rafe’s whole personality is built on the fact that he’s a fighter. I did not really care about the fighting aspect of this, so I never really connected with Rafe a whole lot.
I did really like that Clio and Rafe got closer to each other while planning a wedding. It raised the tension to have Rafe see Clio picking out flowers, cake, and dresses, but for a wedding that wasn’t to him.
The ending was really cute as well! The resolution of the final conflict was really good. I also loved that the epilogue avoided my most hated trope, so that definitely was a major positive to me.
I also have in my notes that the first sex scene was “really hot”, but I can’t for the life of me remember what it was…so do what you will with that information.
Oerall, I did enjoy this book, but it’s definitely not a new favorite. I’ve read three of the Castles Ever After books so far, and this one is the weakest.