Upon reading a book of this caliber, I regret all the 5 stars which have gone before -
Squandering spangles upon novels which have been less decorated that I might fully impress upon you, the reader, this tomes glorious worth!!
Young Evie encounters Justin first at her parents houseparty, launching her older sister. Enterprising lass that she is, upon bumping into him emerging from an older (married) ladies room she strikes a deal of silence which will leave him in her debt.
She makes other unfortunate entrances also at this houseparty, and overhears some unkind ladies disparging her looks to the extent that she feels she must be terribly ugly - golem like in fact. This instance shapes her to the point that when she seeks out Justin 10 years later, Evie has entirely lost interest in her appearance and dresses in most a most utilitarian style.
Calling upon the old IOU, Evie requests usage of Justins ancestral home, in order to host a wedding for a client. (Various strategems are imployed here, to make this necessary - Evie has taken on the family business which pads their modest income).
In a well employed change from the much travelled theme of Regency England, the story is set in late Victorian times, where the glory of nobility has tarnished somewhat and the chaperonage is not quite as strict.
Justin is soon revealed as a secret agent, and there are all sorts of comings and goings in the night which add to the atmosphere and create many an interesting byline.
The delightfully entertaining exchanges between our leads make for delicious banter, whilst the tender love making scenes ought to be an inspiration to all writers. Without being crude, the author graciously depicts wonderfully sensual moments and brings sizzle AND the butterflies to the scenes which for once I find ENHANCE the book rather than bringing the romance down.
The first Connie Brockway novel I have read, and most certainly not the last, I felt it held up to the standards set by Eloisa James, possibly surpassed a Stephanie Laurens, and was a delightful successor to Patricia Veryan and Loretta Chase.
Having most recently read Jo Beverleys My Lady Notorious which had a promising beginning only to sink a great deal with salicious raunchiness midway, Bridal Favors swims and sizzles through challenges which others fail.