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The Taste of Temptation (The Matchmaker of Edinburgh Series Book 2) Kindle Edition
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Overall reaction to the story? I was fascinated by the premise of The Taste of Temptation. A woman who sued her fiancée for breaking her engagement? I just had to get to know this woman! I wasn’t disappointed either, Caroline was strong but vulnerable and to pair her up with a man who makes it his life’s business to share secrets and news? It could have been a disaster but I liked Jonathan too! I’ve never read a book by Julia Kelly before but if this is a sample of her skills as an author then I’ll be picking up more books by her in the near future.
Describe the hero in five words: Stubborn. Determined. Intelligent. Lonely. Fair.
Did you like him? Yes.
Why? Before you judge Jonathan Moray by his profession, give him a chance to show what a good guy he is. Is he determined to get “The” story for his paper? Yes, he has to be, if not he’ll lose his livelihood and so will all the people who work for him. I liked that while he was so hell bent on getting his story he never crossed the line with Caroline or did anything remotely sleazy in order to force her to cooperate. I loved that the author highlighted Jonathan’s character by showing how ruthless and cutthroat his competitors could be towards Caroline. Jonathan wasn’t a pushover though and I liked the balance between hard hitting newspaperman and the everyday man. All this guy did was work and he needed a break from that just to be himself but at the same time I don’t think he knew who he was outside of the paper. I enjoyed his growth from an extension of the newspaper to an actual human with actual feelings.
Describe the heroine in five words: Stubborn. Determined. Intelligent. Gentle. Kind.
Did you like her? Yes.
Why? Caroline wasn’t made of steel. She didn’t go around bashing men for their treatment of her and there is actually a story to the lawsuit against her fiancée. I loved that Caroline had the guts to stand by her lawsuit but it did have its affects on her like it would a normal human being. I think Caroline avoided scandal as best as she could but she wasn’t going to let people browbeat her either. When she had to she could be quite the force to be reckoned with. My favorite thing about her though was the snarky side of her that would come out whenever Jonathan tried to ruffle her feathers. She was sharp but not cruel with her responses and she was honest enough to admit to herself that she felt more alive when she was matching wits with him. I also liked her vulnerable side, the side that felt she had to marry someone quickly before the scandal completely destroyed her.
Let’s talk about the romance: As enemies to lovers romances go, The Taste of Temptation was a good one. Jonathan and Caroline couldn’t be at more opposite ends of the scandal spectrum. He made a living off of scandal and she just wanted to put it behind her. While they certainly weren’t friends in the beginning, they weren’t hardcore enemies either. Jonathan never actually hated Caroline but he wasn’t exactly fond of her either. Caroline on the other hand couldn’t stand him and that animosity added some delicious chemistry between them. As their attraction grew and they constantly found themselves together, a mutual respect and admiration started to grow and I loved that about their relationship. By the time their emotions were engaged Jonathan and Caroline had built a solid foundation that had me totally rooting for them. He respected Caroline as a human and never treated her like property or some foolish woman who needed a man to care for her. Caroline learned to see the newspaper industry through a different point of view instead of just hers. I just loved these two as a couple.
How about that supporting cast? Since The Taste of Temptation is my first book by Julia Kelly I was unfamiliar with Jonathan’s friends but I enjoyed them so much that I know I just have to get the first book in this series.
Click It or Skip It? Click It. Julia Kelly delighted me with her characters and had me falling in love with the romance between Jonathan and Caroline.
* I received a copy of this book via NetGalley for the purpose of an honest review.
Jonathan Moray is a self-made man, coming from less than nothing, he’s managed to purchase and make a success of two newspapers: the leading gossip tabloid of Edinburgh, The Tattler, and the leading and well-respected daily that presents actual news that is important. He wants to start an evening edition, but his own determination not to borrow against either paper or place himself in debt have him needing to increase circulation and improve the bottom line before adding the newest release. When one of his ‘spotters’ sees Caroline arriving at the station, he knows that one thing will make his dreams of an evening edition come true: convince her to share the “real” story of her engagement, being set aside and the trial. He intends to charm, cajole and even scare Caroline into agreeing to his terms, he knows that she may be shorter of funds than originally thought, and that becomes a consideration as well.
Meantime at her brother’s house, Caroline and his wife Elsie are finding themselves developing a true friendship, and Caroline is seeing that Elsie is more than welcoming, needing a break from the oft-demanding and grumpy Michael. With an introduction to Moray at her first night out after her arrival, Caroline is alternately intrigued and frustrated that yet another ‘journalist’ is concerned with her story, but the sparks and conversation are both intriguing. But, she wants a secure and quiet life, the sparks, the conversation and the attraction are all far more than she wants or deserves. Of course, when she meets Moira Sullivan, a woman of considerable wealth, an eye for who’s who, and an endless series of successful matches, Caroline is clear in her intentions to marry quickly, whomever will have her, and Moray is the only person she’s not interested in. Never say never, as Moira issues a coveted invitation to Moray, seats him next to Caroline, and watches the sparks fly. That is, until a rival for her attention, and wholly more suited man, if boring and self-centered, enters the room.
Kelly takes us on a ride with two characters who are completely unaware of their own worth and desirability. Caroline is beautiful, intelligent, honest and loyal: the right man would be honored to have her, and while she considers herself ruined and tainted, she believes that the very limited options for women of her time have her constrained to say yes to the first taker. Moray is so consumed with making a success of his papers and keeping his past a secret, determined that love is a pipe dream and that his coming from less than nowhere doesn’t make him a viable option for any woman: and this obsession he has for Caroline is little more than wanting the story to quiet his insatiable curiosity. Fortunately, for both of them, the secondary characters in this story are not above a bit of manipulation, straight talk and some serious interference. From his best friend Gavin and his wife Ina (a sculptor) to his editor Eva, her partner Catriona and even Moira and the dressmaker Mrs. Parkem are all wiling to push, prod and even speak plainly to have them see what is right in front of their eyes. Fortunately, even if delayed and right at the brink, they both see sense and dare to bare their hearts and dreams, living a life together that neither could have dared to hope for. Kelly’s writing is wonderfully descriptive, the dialogue sharp and a sense of both the societal pressure and self-esteem play on the progression of the relationship and story: making the place and the people easy to understand, enjoy and cheer for. A read in one sitting story that shows dreams, even those far beyond what is ‘conventional’ can come true.
I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.