Covered in dog hair, Obsessed with books, Wondering what it's all about. I suspect the answer is ice cream and the ocean.
Original Publication Year: 2015 (March 25th)
Genre(s): Historical Romance
Series: Regency Reformers #1
Format: Thanks to Entangled Publishing for providing me with an advanced reader copy of this book (via NetGalley). My review reflects my honest opinion of and experience with the book and was not influenced by receiving the book for free from the publisher.
Narrated by: NA
Usually I am very wary about picking up a romance novel I know nothing about. It's a genre that I am quite picky about so I try to be selective. Then on an average day I got a wild hair, as one sometimes does, and requested The Miss Mirren Mission from Netgalley and Lo and Behold... I LOVED it! Sometimes it pays to be all risky and impulsive.
The Miss Mirren Mission is a Regency Era romance which features:
Emily Mirren: Bluestocking, radical abolitionist, not interested in marriage because the only examples she's seen have been horrible.
Eric, The Earl of Blackstone: A former soldier, now spy, he's the original obsessed work-a-holic Regency England style.
They are both on a mission, she to save a friend and fight corruption, he to help England in it's war against France. When the two missions come in conflict, it turns out to be the luckiest thing to ever happen to these lovebirds.
I've given up trying to define exactly what makes me like or dislike a romance but certainly well-developed, believable characters as the main couple is pretty key. I really liked and identified with both of the main characters - we get both perspectives and their thoughts and reactions to the world and each other completely make sense. Eric is a confident and masculine man and even has his "I know what's best for her" moments but he's not an Alpha male in any real sense. Emily is more than a match for him as well so it doesn't feel like he dominates her. They can probably both be described as introverts.
Their falling in love is slow and feels totally realistic. There's talking and getting to know one another. There's lots of adorable and funny banter and flirting. Also, there's not a lot of emphasis on their beauty. Blackstone is fascinated by her curly hair and she find him non-conventionally handsome. There is no attempt to establish them as the most beautiful man and woman in Britain which is a relief - they are beautiful to each other because they are falling in love. It's nice.
The other thing I really liked about the book was that it had a good, nicely connected and complex plot that involved national intrigue but also a lot of personal connections as well. Eric served under Emily's father in the Army and revered him, loved him as a Father. Emily has a very different view of her father because he was always absent and left her in the care of a mean and wicked man. They talk and come to grips with this as the novel progresses. There's also the issue of slavery which had recently been abolished in Britain but was still a murky issue. The plot and romance were balanced perfectly I thought - I got just enough of each.
The final word on why I love this book? It kept me reading, avidly way past my best time. If I'd had a big enough chunk of time I likely would have just sat down and read it straight through. It kept me gripped and turning pages until the very end.
FINAL VERDICT: This turned out to be a great gamble and a great book - a regency era romance with a compelling hero and heroine and an involving plot to boot. 4 out of 5 Stars.