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Sunday, December 15, 2013

ARC Review: What Not to Bare by Megan Frampton

Most romance novels are written with a certain familiar flow to the story, but every now and then we encounter a book that seems to be marching to a different drummer. Sometimes that can be because of inconsistent writing or poor pacing, but other times it is because the writer truly has a unique style. What Not to Bare is a quirky, delightful story brought to life through interesting characters. It took me just a little while to get into the unusual rhythm of the writing, but once I did, it was all fun and enjoyment. Megan Frampton places us most of the time in the mind of the heroine whose thoughts are fast, curious and somewhat jumbled. It was almost like stream-of-consciousness writing. Definitely different than the usual Regency, very quick and funny.

Lady Charlotte Jepstow is reasonably attractive with a large dowry, but she is barely tolerating her third season, hoping her parents will give up on her and allow her to live a quiet, spinster life. She dresses in outlandish clothing partly because she likes them and partly as a challenge to get others to really see who she is. She has been dubbed “The Abomination.” Lord David Marchston has recently returned from his beloved India because of a scandal. His superior (also Charlotte’s uncle) asks him to court Charlotte in an attempt to make other gentlemen interested in her. David is so attractive that he was dubbed “Mr. Gorgeous” in India, but he really wants to be valued for his usefulness, not his looks. Charlotte is quite surprised when the best looking guy in London pays attention to her and David is surprised to discover that he enjoys Charlotte’s unique personality. Complications and conflicts make it difficult for Charlotte and David to reach their very satisfying Happily Ever After.

After reading hundreds of historical romances it is a delicious pleasure to come across an occasional book that is engaging because it is different. It is such fun to be inside Charlotte’s mind. She is sharp, curious, and impulsive, often blurting out questions that others would not dare to ask. It was also great fun to see the usually cool and collected David become befuddled by Charlotte’s unusual questions and antics, causing him to say ridiculous things, like that she was “not ugly.” This is a thoroughly engaging romance with lovely steamy bits. It has some wonderful messages about not judging people by their exteriors and that real self-esteem is deeper than our surfaces. Charlotte and David would never have seemed to go together to the casual observer, but they found that they had much in common and it was enough to build a solid relationship. Charlotte clearly sees all of her faults, but David helps her appreciate her unique qualities. Charlotte helps David engage his finer aspirations. What Not to Bare was a joy to read. I highly recommend it.

**ARC provided by NetGalley**

Purchase: | Amazon | Barnes & Noble |


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