Despite it's copyright date of 1996, this follows somewhat typical older Harlequin Presents story lines. Emilie, 20, is the unassuming,virginal ingenue, Ambrose,39, is the hard bitten, extremely successful cynic that is attracted to Emilie's purity and innocence. I usually enjoy Charlotte Lamb books, and this was no exception. However beware, as is typical of some older Harlequin's, there is physical abuse by the hero to the heroine. Spoiler ahead: Ambrose being so much older then Emilie is insecure about their age difference, his own poor upbringing, and the fact that there is another much younger suitor pursuing her. While there are kissing scenes, there is basically only one real sex scene, and that is when Ambrose takes her virginity (after proposing first of course!) This sex scene seemed more realistic than most modern Harlequin romances which portray sex as incredible and fabulous from the very first moment, despite circumstances or lack of experience. In this book, Charlotte Lamb documented the hero's perspective and misgivings about pursuing Emilie feeling he is inappropriate for her, she also changed the perspective (albeit briefly) to Sophia's (Emilie's nemesis & rival), which is somewhat unusual for Harlequins. I found the book to be enjoyable until right at the end when Ambrose, believing he has been betrayed by Emilie because personal info is published about him (and finding her other suitor with her) actually CHOKES her! There were even purple marks noted on her neck! Yet a few pages later all is forgiven and they are planning to live happily ever after! Arggh! However, again, typical older Harlequin. Overall, an interesting, if not somewhat nostalgic read but as my title says beware of the abuse coming at the end.
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