Today’s my stop on the blog tour hosted by Rachel’s Random Resources for The Viscount’s Unconventional Lady by Virginia Heath. Thanks to the author for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Goodreads: The Viscount’s Unconventional Lady
Publisher: Mills & Boon Historical
Release Date: 21 January 2021
Genre: Historical Romance
The notorious viscount
And the most gossiped-about lady…
After years as a diplomat in the Napoleonic Wars, Lord Eastwood is reluctant to return to London society. His scandalous divorce has made him infamous, not to mention cantankerous! To halt the rumor mill, he should marry a quiet noblewoman—instead it’s bold, vibrant artist Faith Brookes who’s caught his attention. They are the least suitable match, so why is he like a moth to a flame?
When Virginia Heath was a little girl it took her ages to fall asleep, so she made up stories in her head to help pass the time while she was staring at the ceiling. As she got older, the stories became more complicated, sometimes taking weeks to get to the happy ending. Then one day, she decided to embrace the insomnia and start writing them down. Despite that, it still takes her forever to fall asleep.
TL;DR: If you’re looking for a historical romance that involves more of the historical aspect, but also serves a wonderfully slow-burning enemies-to-lovers romance with likeable and relatable characters, then I’d recommend checking this out! This is my first time reading anything by this author so I wasn’t sure what to expect, and while the blurb piqued my interest it really doesn’t give much away. Though it’s definitely a slower-paced historical romance, I found many aspects of it to be quite refreshing and I’m really looking forward to trying more by this author (and also more from Mills & Boon Historical, if they’re all this enjoyable)!
This was a very character driven story and there’s not much of a plot. Thankfully, Faith and Piers were both very likeable and relatable! Faith is smart, talented and outspoken. Her confidence, wit, and beauty means she’s often the centre of attention at social events. She comes from a family of artists and although they’re wealthy, they’re still not good enough for the ton and it also makes them hot topics in the daily gossip columns. On the other hand, Piers is part of the ton but he’s an introvert and wants nothing to do with their social kiss-assery. Due to his recent and very scandalous divorce, he’s also now a social pariah and in every respect the total opposite of Faith. Both our H/H have deeply rooted personal issues that give them a very jaded view of romance, and though I felt for both their situations, I empathised most with Piers’ struggles. His marriage left deep gouges in his self-confidence and despite being a sharp, kind-hearted and gentle soul, he views himself quite lowly and unworthy.
What I found refreshing about their romance was that it’s actually a slow burn (also enemies-to-lovers). In a lot of the historical romances I’ve read, the H/H are very quick to forget their personal issues to jump into bed with each other (and hey, there’s definitely nothing wrong with that), but I found this romance to be so much more realistic, especially for what I assume it would be like during that time period. I liked that they pulled the breaks to actually court each other so they could properly work through their issues while getting to know each other better, and ensuring that what they have is real and will last. Give me more of this level-headedness, please! 😂 That’s not to say that this wasn’t steamy because it definitely went there, it was just nice to see a good balance. While there was of course a conflict point towards the end, it was also dealt with very maturely and without dramatics, and I really appreciated that too.
Aside from our H/H, I really liked many of the other characters, especially Faith’s sisters, and Piers’ mother and niece, Isobel. Isobel was a wonderfully precocious and hilarious addition to the story and I loved watching her interact with Piers because it animated his character so much. Towards the end, we also get to learn a bit more about Faith’s sisters, Hope and Charity, and I really liked what we got, so I’m quite excited to know that their stories are coming up next.
I honestly only had a few qualms that prevented me from rating this five stars and they’re mostly to do with pacing and some characters. As I mentioned, this is quite slow paced and that has to do with the detailed historical context that’s part of Piers’ character arc as he has a fairly significant diplomatic role in the Napoleonic Wars. If you like historical romances but don’t want too much of the historical part, this might not be for you. I personally enjoyed it but it did make the pace quite slow. I was also a bit lukewarm about Faith’s parents. They did come from a good place but they were so overdramatic, especially Roberta, and by the end it became too much for me (especially with Roberta spelling out words that she doesn’t want her daughters to “hear or understand” even though they’re adults and… why? It was weird and didn’t work for me).
Overall though, I’m really glad that this was put on my radar and I’m looking forward to reading more from this author because if her books are all as enjoyable as this one, I might have just discovered a new favourite historical romance author 😊
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