Review: The Most Improper Miss Sophie Valentine by Jayne Fresina

Wednesday, November 20, 2013
Title: The Most Improper Miss Sophie Valentine
Author: Jayne Fresina
Genre: Romance
Series: Sydney Dovedale #1
Pages: 373
Published: June 5, 2012
Source: Purchased
Rating: 3/5
"Wanted: one husband, not too particular. Small dowry, several books, sundry furnishings, and elderly aunt included. Idlers, time-wasters, and gentleman without other attachments need not apply." —Miss Sophie Valentine

A Scandalous Lady

Sophie Valentine knew placing an ad for a husband in the Farmer's Gazette would bring her trouble—and she was right. When the darkly handsome, arrogantly charming Lazarus Kane shows up on her doorstep, the nosy residents of Sydney Dovedale are thrown into a gossiping tizzy. After all, it's common knowledge that Sophie is a young lady In Need of Firmer Direction. But even Sophie isn't so scandalous as to marry a complete stranger . . . is she?

Seeks Handsome Stranger

Lazarus Kane has been searching for Sophie half of his life. She may not remember him, but he could never forget her. But the past is a dangerous thing, and it's best if his remains secret if he wants to tempt Sophie with...

A Most Improper Proposal

Reviewed by Danielle

It's a shame that a book with such a clever, unique blurb turned out so bog standard. Every HR trope appears to have been tossed into a blender and spat out into a plodding, confusing mess. Including, but not limited to, the following:

Gambling family member who has lost the family fortune
     Heroine must marry for money
Ugly duckling (mildly "disfigured" heroine treated like the Elephant Man)
Poor boy made good
Pining ex-lover
     Love triangle
Love at first sight
Reunited childhood sweethearts
Good People Have Good Sex
Meddling aunts
Mysterious past
Mysterious illness
Reformed thief
Fake names
Buried treasure
Plot moppet
Secret baby

It's incredibly uneven, starting off well but dragging through the middle. Then there are a half dozen sex scenes that all take place in the last quarter. Weirdly paced.

Sophie and Russ are fine characters, but they didn't light my world on fire. I understand the plot is that Sophie is torn between the girl she was and the woman she thinks she should be, but I still found her characterization spotty and inconsistent. I never felt there was a reason Russ had searched for her for so long.

(Also, Sophie's hair naturally curls when she's in love. That's...not how hair works.)

Again, it's not a bad book, just far more boring than the blurb would lead me to believe.

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