How to Wed A Baron - Kasey Michaels
Justin Wilde is a man happy to be back in his beloved England after many years of exile due to a duel gone wrong. However, the price of his return has damaged his sould, and left him at the mercy of the Prince Regent. Alina is traveling to England for the first time, the land of her mother, to meet the man to whom her King has arranged for her to marry. Her plans to find her mother's family and to take the country by storm are disrupted though when she meets her betrothed. Little does she know, that in addition to a potential marriage on her horizon, she also must deal with unknown dangers and politics that have made both Alina and Justin targets.
I absolutely adored the first three books in this series and was excited for Justin's story, an intriguing character we'd met in previous books. We start with Justin being called before the Prince and being told he was to be married. Being at the mercy of the Crown is part of Justin's pennace and the bargain struck for being pardoned and allowed to return to England. This is after he made himself "useful" to the Crown during the war. There's a lot of backstory interspersed with the current story as Justin travels to meet his new bride, some of it tragic, but all of it playing a part in developing the man Justin has become.
I loved Alina when we first met her, and that continued throughout the rest of the book. In fact, I loved all the characters, and enjoyed seeing the main characters from the prior books being involved in Justin and Alina's tale. The story of Justin and Alina is interesting, yet I can't decide if it's because things move so fast or are a bit jumpy, that I wasn't totally absorbed. Justin's feelings of being unworthy are well developed and play a key part in the story, yet I think the story of Luca, Alina's "Secretary"/Guard should have been more of a factor. I liked the fact that Justin's "work" is dealt with matter of factly. It is what it is, he is who he is, and the story is really his coming to terms with that and being able to form a relationship with Alina.
I think perhaps part of the reason I wasn't as absorbed into the characters, despite liking them, this book was that while we'd met Justin in the others, it wasn't like the first three in the series which focused on one family. Because all three were about one family, we saw all of them in a variety of ways and learned a bit more about each as time went on. That's true to some extent with Justin, but there wasn't the same sense of attachment to Justin and Alina as with the others.
I enjoyed the story, but this book didn't grab me quite the way the first three did. All of that aside, it's a lovely story of two wonderfully independent and unique characters meeting their match in each other. While not my favorite of the four books in the series, it was enjoyable and I look forward to seeing more from Kasey Michaels.