Review: Summer Is for Lovers by Jennifer McQuiston

September 20, 2013 Review 2

Review: Summer Is for Lovers by Jennifer McQuiston

His heart is unavailable.

Luckily, her interest lies in the rest of him…

Though she was just a girl when they first met, Caroline Tolbertson’s infatuation with David Cameron remains undimmed. Now fate has brought the handsome Scotsman back to Brighton for what promises to be an unforgettable summer. Soon, Caroline will have to choose a husband, but for now she is free to indulge her curiosity in things of a passionate nature.

That is, if David will agree to teach her.

Past mistakes have convinced David he’ll make a terrible husband, though he’ll gladly help the unconventional Caroline find a suitor. Unfortunately, she has something more scandalous in mind. As the contenders for her hand begin to line up, her future seems assured…provided David can do the honorable thing and let them have her.

(Formerly called Brighton is for Lovers)

When a spirited young woman is determined to break Society’s rules, all a gentleman can do is lend a hand…or more.

Title: Summer is for Lovers
Author: Book Review
Published by Avon
Source: Publisher
Published: 24 September, 2013
Genres: Historical Romace
Pages: 384
See the title at Goodreads
Purchase your copy: Visit the Author's Website

Stars: five-stars
I received this book for free from the Publisher or Author in exchange for an honest review, or I purchased it with my own funds. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
300 Review

Complete with an early Victorian, late Regency feel: this book had everything that I look for in historical romance.  A heroine who has a bit of the unconventional in her soul, a tortured hero who is unwilling to play the part, plenty of secondary characters to fuel the action and provide a counterpoint to the character and strength of the main couple, and set away from the rigidly unbending strictures of London society.

Caroline is the younger of two daughters, tall and lanky her lack of comfort in the midst of the summer ‘society’ that appears each year in her quiet Brighton town has the weight of the world on her shoulders.  Her father died when she was young, leaving the family in precarious financial straits: her mother had retreated to mourning rarely leaving the house except to attend services.  Caroline and her peculiar talent of swimming, peculiar for a woman of the time, was a fortunate thing as she rescued a drowning, suicidal officer David Cameron.  Since that chance meeting when she was little more than a child, Caroline has treasured the sights, voice and image of the young soldier.

David Cameron, the young soldier in question is a saver and a fixer: even when he doesn’t view himself in such chivalrous terms.  Believing himself the cause of his first love’s death, and swearing to never be involved again he is a hard nut to crack. Still handsome yet no longer in first youth, his quiet life as second son of a scots baron and town magistrate have him leading  a quietly helpful life, if not a rich one.

Caroline is delightfully free of artifice, with a touch of innocence that is balanced by her desire and curiosity for more.  Her diligence and determination to make a match to save her family despite every bit of her being fighting the stillness, is so well defined, displayed and described that readers feel the itchy, skin-crawling discomfort.   David is inexorably drawn to her: finding her unique and clever and free of the artifice so common in other women of his acquaintance.  While he is determined to keep her at arm’s length, feeling himself unsuited for a romance with her, he cannot keep her off his mind.

When they trade her instruction in swimming a novel stroke (which appears to be the crawl) for his introducing her to the finer points of kissing and other physical desires, his obvious attraction to her becomes even more of an obstacle for him to overcome.  Even his entry into this bargain is a mixed blessing, his conscience is battling with his body and heart’s desire, and while tame for a modern reader, his lessons would bring utter ruin upon Caroline if ever they were discovered.  Still, these moments of instruction are both innocently steamy and highly sensual.

Together the two are cleverly portrayed with banter and quiet moments of sharing that show both character’s strengths and weaknesses in a way that feels organic and natural, far better impact for the reader and the character development than long explanations and descriptions would normally provide.   The combination of a good story, great characters and an HEA just made this a delightfully fun, quick reading summer book.  It is the first of Jennifer McQuiston’s books that I have read, but it will not be the last.

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