For years, Kitty Fairwell was stuck on her family's gloomy estate. Now, she's started the life of her dreams in London society, dancing at the finest balls and flirting with the most handsome bachelors. She's even attached a gentleman who seems to adore her—even if his kisses for some reason leave her cold.
But when her friend is seduced by a blackguard, Kitty won't hesitate to put friendship first. Hiding Louisa in the countryside also gives Kitty the opportunity to catch up with her beloved (if extremely grumpy) brother... and arrange his house to her satisfaction.
The life she wants is back in London. So why, every time she talks to her brother's estate manager, does the country suddenly sound so tempting?
Seven years ago, tragedy struck John Stanger's life. Needing to start fresh, he took a commission in the Army. He should have known that the gentlemen in the upper ranks would never accept a cloth merchant's son as their equal.
At the bloody battle of Albuera, he saved his friend Ned Fairwell's life. When Ned invited him to manage his estate, he saved John's soul. Ned isn't always the most charming man, but their loyalty to each other is unshakable.
John wouldn't endanger his newfound serenity for anything. Especially not the tempting kisses of his best friend's little sister....
Steam Level: 2.5 on a scale of 0 to 5. Sweet in tone, but not strictly clean.
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A Good KISS is Hard to Find
When her fiancé’s kiss is akin to cold eels, what’s a girl to do? Kitty Fairwell of the “Fearless Fairwells” is not quite sure. Her fiancé, Percy, is a good man—respectful, kind, and thoughtful. The poor man just can’t kiss. Kitty chides herself by declaring that the physical part of marriage isn’t that important! “Or, is it?” comes that niggling question at the back of her mind. Percy adores her, his family loves her, and HER family would consider him the perfect “ton husband.”
Furthermore, Kitty has always aspired to a perfect “ton life,” including dressing in the latest fashions, being presented to the Queen, and having a ton-approved husband like Percy. YET, if he can’t kiss, how can she even imagine doing “those other things” that will happen in the marriage bed? Could she teach him how to kiss? Kitty is confused and not at all fearless, but she thinks she is reconciled to a life with Percy.
UNTIL ... along comes John. John has all of the good qualities Percy has, but he’s not a member of the ton. His father was a Draper. Oh my goodness! His family was “in trade”! Now, he manages her brother Ned’s estate, helps Ned recover from his war injuries, and ... raises turnips! HOWEVER, John is a fine kisser. Not only that. Kitty can easily imagine doing “those other things” that will happen in the marriage bed if she can do them with John.
Then there’s her friend Louisa, “a fallen woman” who yielded to the seduction of a rogue, and now has turned to Kitty as the only one who can help her. Kitty’s too kind hearted to say no, but she realizes that by helping Louisa she has put her own reputation with the ton in danger. She’ll help Louisa, but she won’t do anything else to put herself in social jeopardy. Will she? She’s “really” lusting after John, and—oh no!—Louisa is encouraging her. Louisa says lust is a good thing. As if Kitty isn’t already tempted enough!
Both Kitty and John keep telling themselves they can never be together. They even try to avoid being around each other, but fate (Cupid ?) keeps getting in the way of their best laid plans. What are they to do?
Meanwhile, the rest of the characters are in a turmoil of their own making, adding to the tension.
With Ned’s unpleasantness, Will’s insecurities, and Louisa’s anxiety, Kitty is right in the middle, trying to keep peace, sort out other people’s problems, and deal with her own attraction to John.
THEN, as if that isn’t enough, something new and totally unexpected occurs. The plot thickens, and tension escalates. You’ll be on the edge of your seat. Yet, despite the danger, Kitty never loses her positive vision that hope will prevail.
The book is absolutely delightful. Never a dull moment. Fast paced and eventful, it’s a romance and much more. It’s a realistic look at some of the physical and social issues prevalent in 19th century England. The steam level is 2.5 out of 5. The sexual aspects, however, seemed apropos and not merely added for sensationalism, as is sometimes the case with other authors.
The author is imaginative and talented. She uses vivid imagery to describe the characters, and she creates tension by juxtaposing 5 strong and diverse personalities. She keeps the tone positive and hopeful despite the problems that occur. I enjoyed the book and strongly recommend it.
There is no cliffhanger, but there are delicious “hints” that brothers Will and Ned will have some surprises coming their way in the books that follow. A Good Kiss is Hard to Find is the first in the series. Although you don’t have to read the books in order, I urge you to do so. That’s the fun of a series: guessing what will happen in the next book and then delving into it to see if you’ve predicted correctly. I’m ready to start the second book. I can’t wait to see how many of my guesses will come to pass and how many surprises await me. Also, check the author’s Facebook page. The posts present such a charming view of life in 19th century England and how those of us who love this historical period can recapture it.