Adeline by Christina McKnight and Amanda Mariel
Returning to London after an errand to deliver her younger sisters to the school she herself attended, Adeline is caught in a storm and when her carriage is damaged, forced to accept the offer of hospitality extended by a passing stranger. Jasper Benedict, the Earl of Ailesbury, seems a strange sort - he won't even show his face - but needs must, and soon Adeline finds herself safe and warm inside Jasper's beautiful home at Faversham Abbey.
Jasper was horribly scarred in the fire that took his parents when he was only a child, and hides away from the world. Adeline is like a breath of fresh air in his household, and he cannot help but be fascinated. When she finally sees his scars and looks past them to see the man inside, he is utterly captivated.
Christina McKnight writes in an engaging style, events in the story so absorbing I'm always surprised when I read the end, thinking that the book was too short - but at 239 pages, it's a perfectly reasonable length. Perhaps it's the fact that the entire events of the novel, from Adeline's first meeting with Jasper to the inevitable HEA, take place in the span of less than a week. Which seems like a very short period of time for all the events that occur. Insta-love isn't one of my favourite tropes, and while I thoroughly enjoyed the novel, I think it would have been all the better for some build-up of dramatic tension over time. Four stars.
Adeline is available now.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book for review through NetGalley.