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Friday, June 9, 2017

ARC Review: Not So Sweet Maria by Jessica Spencer

Clean historical romance is a genre that is lacking at the present. I am a huge fan of Erin Knightley because of her books which are so sweet and romantic, but spare me the more embarrassing-to-read intimate scenes. So when I saw the opportunity to read and review Not So Sweet Maria (which is advertised as a clean regency romance), I jumped on it immediately.

Lady Maria is the granddaughter of a duke, but her existence is full of scandal. Her father traveled to America and married a commoner there. Upon her parent's deaths, she is shipped to England to be raised by her grandparents. She feels disdain for everyone within the aristocracy, including her grandmother because of the way they speak about her parents. She grows to become the perfect lady among the ton, and she is greatly admired by it. All the while she harbors this inner animosity and plots to head back to America instead of becoming an aristocratic wife.

Lord Daventon comes from a history of scandal as well. His family's scandal also affected the way he looks at marriage. He believes love is the worst thing for a marriage, because of how it tore his family apart. So though he sees and falls in love with a shop girl he randomly encounters on the street, he sets himself up with a marriage of convenience to Lady Maria... without ever even meeting her! Little does he know, Maria is in disguise as the shop girl.

I was sad to be a little disappointed in this clean regency romance. I know a writer can create true love without intimate scenes, however I never really felt anything between Daventon and Maria. Maria acted like a dramatic teenager almost the entire time, unless they were at a formal ton event. Then she would be all that is proper, and it was commented upon endlessly. The drama may be inferred from an overuse of exclamation points in the writing however.There were a lot of actions made by the characters that didn't seem to make a whole lot of sense, and trouble stirred up from some random places. It didn't lead up to the right conflicts appropriately.

Jessica Spencer has potential to create something wonderful with the small sub-genre of romance. I believe this is her first book, so I am curious to see how she may improve. Perhaps this particular story line just wasn't my cup of tea, and her style will be better suited for other stories. I am willing to try again, and hope to see growth. 

**ARC provided by Author**

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