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Charity Effington wants nothing more than to hide in Bath and play her music for a few months. After breaking off her betrothal with a man she didn't love, the ton hasn't let her alone. Now that the season is over, she is hoping to avoid them all. Hugh Danby, Lord Cadgwith, is hoping some time taking the waters in at Bath will help ease his pain and rid him of his debilitating headaches. It might even work.... if that infernal woman next door would cease and desist with that racket she calls music. The two are bound to run into each other at ever corner. The only question is, can they overcome the bad start to become friends... and maybe even more?
Charity is that musically gifted girl that we all envy. She is so moved by her music that she gets lost in the sound. She composes music that is gorgeous and haunting and upbeat. Most people would kill for her abilities and she doesn't take them for granted. Her passion is so intense that I can understand why she can concentrate on nothing else most of the time. She's the quite type who normally has no problem accommodating other people's wishes, but something about Hugh makes her contrary. She wants nothing more than to defy his wishes. He tells her to quiet down, she plays louder. He tells her to leave him be and she pesters him to death. It's the best type of story, where they start out hating each other and that hate slowly turns to attraction and love.
Hugh just wants some peace and quiet. His attacks make it impossible for him to do anything except curl into a ball and hid in his room. The slightest bit of light or noise makes it exponentially worse and then his neighbor has to be a damn musical protégé. Since strangling the woman is out of the question, he demands she stop playing. But the blasted woman just plays louder and with more fervor. Does she not understand that she is torturing him? I felt so bad for him. He has so much on his plate, so many things to live up to, and he doesn't really know what he is doing. The new title and the loss of his brother and trying to pull himself out of the dark hole he has buried himself in after the war and his injury.
This romance has all the elements for a great story. I love the hate first then love storylines because they are always filled with snicker-worthy encounters between the couple. I love the snark and the barely veiled hatred and ire. I love the whole set up. And these two were no exception, going out of there way to irritate each other and then slowly growing into fondness and love. ::sighs:: It is the first historical romance I've read that does not contain a sex scene. There are a few steamy kisses, but that's as far as we see. I'm not sure how I feel about that. I definitely don't miss the horrible euphemisms, but smut is always expected in romance. This breaks the mold. For those who avoid them specifically because of the smut, this would be a great starter novel for you because you don't get one!
My only issue with this was the ending. Don't get me wrong, it ends well, almost perfectly, but I just felt it was a bit rushed. I would have been much happier if it had been a handful of pages longer to give me more time to absorb the last few events. Too many important things take place in the last 50 pages to let them all really sink in and then it's over.
In the end, this was a pretty great historical romance. You get almost everything you look for in a love story and it's told in a manner that keeps you laughing at their antics and makes your heart ache for Hugh's pain. Sure, the story is a bit predictable, but in romance, that never really bothers me. I'm not reading to be astounding by a twist-filled plot. I'm reading to watch two people fall in love in a believable but magical manner. On that front, this novel delivers in full. Hugh and Charity's love is magical but realistic enough that I could believe it. It's a great HR and I look forward to reading more of Knightley's work in the future!
****Thank you to Piatkus for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review****