Historical fiction, Romance

The Debutante Dares #4,#5 by Charlie Lane

I picked this book because I was under the assumption that it was the first in the series. I realised later that it was the fourth. That did not impact the narrative but did take away a little from understanding the bonds between the women central to the plot or the concept of ‘daring’.
The covers are a little too strange for my taste. I would not have picked it up if not for the ratings and my mood at the time when I first came across it. I am glad I do so, however. There was a time when I read a lot of this genre, but it has been a while since I read and liked a book in this regency-romance-type genre, and I had fun with this one.
The fourth book revolves around a widow with a very annoying younger sister. I found the overall balance between the characters interesting since the supporting cast had shades of grey, which had them behaving unexpectedly at certain times. A group of women have come together over time and poor personal decisions to form a sort of club where we can see a trend of who the next book about would be.
The plot of the book is standard, but the writing and the characters made it a satisfying read. There are two annoying women who are asking more than others want to give them, but they end up quite distinct, which is not always a common thing to encounter.
It was a quick read, with intimate scenes not going into too much graphic detail and the little there was, I could easily skip without losing out on the story itself.

I am a fan of a good romantic tale and the fake engagement trope. It was probably the first one that I ever read when I picked up a book of this genre a long time ago. This story has both, and I liked it even better than the previous book in the series, although I had read both without prior information about the series or the characters within.
I suspected who the next book would be about even without seeing the blurb of the next, mostly because of a very well-timed mention by a would-be suitor in the fourth book.
Our leading lady is not a joiner. She has her reasons, and if you read this on the heels of the previous one, then you will know the reason for her current mood. She has a family that she finds hard to think actually cares for her. This is the part that I might have liked best after the romance plot. Her brothers and father all seem to behave atrociously on the surface, but for the most part, they actually mean to do something else altogether(not all of them, not all the time). I wanted to dislike them but ended up feeling neutral – something that does not often happen to me in lighter books like this.
The blurb lays out the story in a straightforward manner. Both of our leads have to get married for selfish reasons, but neither will admit they have always liked the other. This is obviously a well-used recipe, but I am, as always, a fan.
I felt there were more hints about the next couple in this one than in the previous book, but I am not complaining. These books must be read in the right mood, without too much introspection into the logic of everything. It was a quick read, and if I get a chance to read the next, I definitely plan to.

I think fans of this genre will like this series.
I received ARCs thanks to NetGalley and the publishers but the review is entirely based on my own reading experience.

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