All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Review: The Lady Traveler’s Guide To Happily Ever After by Victoria Alexander

on September 13, 2019

The Lady Traveler’s Guide To Happily Ever After (The Lady Travelers Society #4)
Victoria Alexander
Harlequin
2019, 384p
Copy courtesy of the publisher via NetGalley

Blurb {from the publisher/Goodreads.com}:

For the past seven years, Violet Branham has enjoyed the luxury of traveling the world as an independent woman, and confining her awkward past to a distant, if painful, memory. But now she has been summoned home to England over a stipulation in the will of her late uncle, the Earl of Ellsworth, one that decrees she lose everything unless she reconciles with the man who broke her heart and ruined her life—her husband.

This sounded like such fun – and I keep saying this, but I should research more before I request. I didn’t realise that this was number four in a series until almost the end. Which kind of explains the three random old ladies that turn up in the middle of the story but to be honest, this reads perfectly well as a stand alone.

It started off very promising, with the aftermath of James and Violet’s marry-in-haste wedding after he kissed her at a party and everyone saw. For James, it was a way to get out of an engagement he didn’t want to be in and he did do the right thing by marrying Violet after he ruined her. But he made it clear that he wanted them to live separately, rather than as a real marriage and so Violet negotiated escape, spending six years on the continent. Now James’ uncle has passed away and James has inherited his title….but in order to get his properties and wealth James must abide by the stipulations of his uncle’s will which states that James and Violet must live together for 3 years, spend no more than 14 nights a year apart and be seen as a married couple in company regularly.

I really enjoyed the premise. James and Violet have spent six years apart since the day after their wedding and although Violet has returned to England quite regularly, she and James have not crossed paths as he always leaves his uncle’s home before she arrives. Now they will have to share a home and, for all appearances, live and socialise as a married couple. James’ uncle has made it clear that he thought they belonged together, James just had some growing up to do. Now it seems that his will stipulations will help get that ball rolling.

I think the thing that ruined this for me, was James. I didn’t like him. I didn’t like him in the past, when bored and trapped, instead of just being honest, he kissed a young woman. It wasn’t supposed to be witnessed by everyone, but it was. And even though he did marry Violet and save her reputation, he shouldn’t have had to because he shouldn’t have ruined it. Then he just wants to cast her aside, live separately. No wonder she leaves and when Violet comes back, she’s a much different woman to the one she was when she left. Travelling and living abroad has definitely given her more confidence and poise, she’s not so easily embarrassed and quietspoken as she was beforehand. I thought Violet’s reasons for agreeing to Uncle Richard’s will stipulations were a bit weak – she’s been away from James for six years. She claims he allowed her her freedom but he didn’t so much allow her as kind of be completely uninterested in her and what she did. It was Richard who provided her with the means to live as she wished, and I guess she wants to fulfil his wishes but…..he’s dead. He isn’t going to derive any happiness out of it.

And current-timeline James is to be honest, as immature as six-years-ago James. I found him really quite annoying. I think he’s supposed to have this irrepressible boyish sort of charm with these cheeky grins and winks and haha I’m handsome and amusing aren’t I? type character but I just found him hypocritical and annoying. Put it this way – one person has been actually faithful in this marriage and it isn’t James. One person spends a lot of time worrying about and being angry about whether or not someone actually was faithful – and that isn’t Violet. I found his preoccupation with it ridiculous, especially given his own behaviour. I know it’s common for the time….men were permitted to have mistresses, especially men with titles and money. And it wasn’t acceptable for women to do the same thing, even if their husband had abandoned them or whatever. But James’ endless speculation and jealousy got tedious to read about.

I liked Violet. I thought it was pretty obvious from just a couple of scenes that she’d probably had a very unpleasant upbringing and had been constantly mistreated by her mother. She had done what she pleased, rather than just stay in London and allow James to run roughshod all over her or ship her off to another property. She’d travelled and learned and spoke several languages and when they go back to Europe as part of this story, it’s clear she’s in her element whereas James is quite out of sorts. It highlights for me the differences between the two. James had every opportunity to travel, as did most moneyed young men of the day and he completely wasted it. Not only does Violet soak everything in and make the most of every opportunity she also uses her privilege to help others as well. In the end I thought Violet deserved far better than James for a life partner. Someone who definitely had more respect for her and knew her better.

Even though I didn’t like James, the fact that I liked Violet and the premise means that I think I’d read another book from this series, or from the author. But for me, the spark for them as a couple just wasn’t there, I didn’t feel it at all whilst reading the book.

6/10

Book #140 of 2019


2 responses to “Review: The Lady Traveler’s Guide To Happily Ever After by Victoria Alexander

  1. I never heard of this series. It does look quite fun. Sorry you didn’t enjoy it as much as you wanted to. I might keep it in mind for future book haul. Great review.

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