Summary- Deborah isn’t beautiful but she is a very efficient nanny. Gideon Beaufort isn’t looking for love. He is looking for a mother for his daughter. Gideon asks Deborah to marry him with the understanding that he doesn’t intend to fall in love with her. She accepts and begins to try to win his heart.
My rating- D
I have to be fair and start out by saying that this book was written before I was born. In it’s time it was probably a pretty great book and Betty Neels was probably a really well respected author. If she hadn’t been I imagine Harlequin would not have put out a “The Best of Betty Neels” series after the author died in 2001 (I was in high school).
The book had an old plot which is one of my favorites. Man marries woman because he needs a mother for his child. He marries a woman he doesn’t expect to love but ends up falling for her. I wish it could have been better done because the story had potential.
I hated the style of this book. It felt like I was being told about a book someone else had read. Scenes were rushed and felt more like they were summed up then happening before my eyes. The first half of the book contains many paragraphs that describe Deborah doing her nanny duties. Example: “There was nothing for it but to be patient and put them into a bath, wheedle them into clean clothes, and lastly load the washing machine once more before sitting them down to a delayed dinner which they refused to eat.” The above example wouldn’t have been too bad except that the first half of the book is almost entirely written like this. Deborah went here and did this. There is little that happens on stage. Most everything is summarized.
Deborah doesn’t agree to marry Gideon until fairly late in the book. On page 109 Deborah decides she will marry Gideon. The book ends on page 184. Prior to the marriage and even after it Deborah and Gideon don’t spend much time interacting. He shows up now and then, does something nice, and goes off on his merry way while Deborah does her nanny duties.
In the modern romances I am familiar with there is almost always the back and forth perspective of the characters. Scene 1 we hear from his point. Scene 2 from her point. The POV on this story was more or less 3rd person limited from Deborah’s perspective with occasional lapses into other people’s heads. We don’t really know much about Gideon other than what Deborah perceives of him. and he comes off as a bit of a jerk. He is always gone. When he is home he is working. He brings around a beautiful woman to make Deborah jealous. We also learn that he more or less fell in love with her early on (very convenient) but never told her. He was married before and the woman ran off so I understood his hesitancy but since there was very little of the book that showed his thoughts I felt deprived of his journey in the novel. Was he afraid she would leave him as well? Did he ever plan to tell her of his love? Why was he being such a jerk (though he does explain that he brought around the hot chick so Deborah would show him her feelings)? Why did he tell Deborah that “I can’t pretend to love you or even hold out the hope that I could do so in the future” but he later tells her that he must have loved her the moment they met and it just took him a while to register the feelings. Not having Gideon’s perspective on the story really made it hard for me. He came off as a very 2 dimensional character who was there for convenience instead of a hero of any kind.
Gideon and Deborah automatically keep separate rooms but during the proposal Gideon implies that he and Deborah will have children. They don’t talk about keeping separate rooms nor does Deborah find it strange. During the time this book was written romance novels might have been less hot. I can’t say. But, it really bothered me that the characters were married and there was no discussion at all about the fact they were not having sex or sharing a room. It felt very unrealistic.
This romance was not enjoyable to me and I was very disappointed. I was especially sad because I have no desire to read any more Betty Neels books but I had bought several from the “Best of” series. I just don’t think I can plow through another book like this one.