An Inconvenient Kiss
Copy courtesy of the publisher via NetGalley
At eighteen, Georgiana Phillips was a highly respectable lady out in Society and no doubt ready to make the match of the Season to someone rich and titled. Whilst fleeing a situation that could potentially lead to her ruin, she comes across Simon Ashford, a friend of her older brother, in a very compromising situation. And that situation led to her being ruined anyway, although by the time her brother found her she was alone.
Six years later and Georgiana, her cousin Jane and her grandfather, a renown scholar are arriving in India to observe the local culture and write up their findings. Georgiana has become somewhat well known, a famous figure who is believed to have left a trail of broken hearts in her wake as she’s travelled across the world. Her older brother, in the Army stationed in India, tasks his friend and fellow soldier Simon Ashford with looking after Georgiana and making sure she doesn’t get herself into any trouble whilst in India. Trouble that could come back and reflect badly on him.
Neither Simon nor Georgiana have forgotten that kiss they shared six years ago. He’s unprepared for Georgie six years later, who is an adventurous woman, determined to experience everything that India has to offer. Her brother is so paranoid about her behaviour that Simon finds himself along for the ride, determined to keep her safe. But the more time they spend together, the more it’s obvious that attraction has never gone away. Simon needs to convince Georgiana that she’s much more than an obligation for him, an assignment he’s been given by a superior officer. But this Georgiana is even more stubborn than six years ago and she’s going to take a lot of convincing.
I’ve been looking for historical fiction to read lately so when I saw this on NetGalley, I snatched it up. It’s a bit different to what I expected but in a good way. I loved the beginning, which is Georgiana attempting to escape an amorous suitor. She slips into a room and finds Simon Ashford, her older brother’s friend in a very compromising situation with a married lady of society. Simon and Georgiana have a lot of banter and share a kiss which ends in Georgiana being ruined thanks to Simon’s very jealous lady friend. Even though many offered for Georgiana, she refused them all and instead went to live with her married cousin Jane in France. Six years later, Jane is a widow and the two of them have been traveling with their grandfather – to Russia, China, Egypt. Now they’ve come to India, where Simon Ashford happens to be stationed.
The interactions between Simon and Georgiana when they are reunited in India are quite a highlight. Georgiana has spent many years abroad and she has changed a lot. Society girls are usually spoiled and cosseted, nothing more is expected of them than to wear pretty clothes and make a good marriage and then produce children. Georgiana has lived in interesting places, she has met interesting people and has escaped some difficult situations. It puts her and Simon on much more of an even footing than they were six years ago when she was still very naive and inexperienced in the ways of the world. Of course there are ways in which Simon is infinitely more experienced than Georgiana with the myriad of colourful stories about her being just that – stories and gossip about a girl who was ruined. Maybe she encouraged them and her reputation, maybe not. I’m not sure that’s ever really satisfactorily addressed.
Simon and Georgiana do have a few conversations that feel like they are repeated way too often throughout the course of the novel. I think Georgiana has come to really appreciate her independence and even though she’s faced a lot of nastiness from others, including her own brother, and has been cut dead by many people and hasn’t seen most of her family in years, she’s made her own way. She’s been able to see a lot of things that women in her position just don’t usually get to see. For Georgiana to ever agree to marry a man, would take something pretty special, a man who wouldn’t feel threatened by her. Simon always seems a bit ahead of Georgiana in this respect, he feels bad about what happened between them six years ago but that was really only part of why he offered for her. Now I think he admires her even more as a person as well as admiring her beauty. She has strength and resilience and character. She’s extremely intelligent and she has worked hard at keeping the little family functioning and together. She just needs a few things to go right in India and things will look good.
I liked the way everything played out – Simon and Georgiana were perfect together and even though they had their frustrating moments it was rewarding to see them thrown into a situation where they could no longer deny or run away from their attraction. An enjoyable read.
Book #135 of 2014