A CLASS APART
Rating: 5 Cups
Lady Octavia’s passion is interior design and she uses it to keep life at bay. The two men, with whom she partners, Justin and Wade, have other plans for her skills as they advance their own ambitions. Upon Octavia’s return from France, she discovers her grandfather, the Marquis of Frampton, has financial troubles and is about to lose their ancestral home. His desperate attempts to save the property have culminated in a worsening of their finances. Her trust fund is not enough to save it. The journey is long and complicated. The possible new owner, Jake Bentley, threatens to put them out with only the gatehouse to live in. Jake is an unsuitable, untitled, self-made man from council housing, whose dream is to own and live at Radleigh. Octavia makes a deal with Jake for a two-year delay to get her upscale hotel, with all the amenities Americans expect, up and running.
Jake dislikes Octavia’s high and mighty attitudes, though he is a likable and complicated hero whose past, though pedestrian, has similar cords to Octavia’s relationship with her flawed parents. Jake can be a mystery one day and a savior the next. His financial successes give him an air of confidence and superiority that sit badly with Octavia. The social and sexual tension escalates.
Octavia doesn’t want financial help from her partners. Thinking she’ll fail, and Jake will be the sole owner of Radleigh, he agrees to give her two years to turn the venture around. She turns to her neighbor, Paul, an architect living nearby to help her keep Radleigh out of Jake’s clutches. During the renovations to the property, villains known and unknown, come out of the bushes to scuttle the deal that Octavia is so proud to have made. Her grandfather never loses faith in her. Jake is chagrined at her full-out style, but admires her bold approach and independent spirit. He saves her more than once. All the while they are falling in love, but neither takes the other for granted, both thinking they are socially unsuited.
This novel has a well-drawn and believable story with many unexpected twists. The reader comes away knowing every character equally well. The author is a skilled wordsmith. Despite the generous use of adjectives, everyone is appropriate and never repeated. Rather than distracting they enrich the story, lending the English flavor that our author knows personally. Every fabric and stick of furniture is correctly described. The cities and transportation are accurately employed. I highly recommend this book.
Reviewer for Coffee Time Romance and More