Monday, 3 October 2011
365 books in 365 days Challenge ... book #179
Secrets and Speed Dating - Leah Ashton
In 'Mills & Boon Loves...' Mills and Boon Special Releases
Harlequin UK, 2011
From the back cover:
"Sophie Morgan’s dealt with life’s curveballs by being logical. Her latest project is to reclaim her life now her fiancé’s left her. Task one: find a boyfriend. Step one: speed dating. But Sophie takes a rather unconventional approach!"
I so looking forward to reading this boon. For those of you who don't know, Leah Ashton and this book won the first Mills & Boon New Voices competition last year. So I have been wanting to see how the book turned out...
The heroine Sophie is trying to re-build her life after her fiancé left her, she had to leave her job and home, and moved back to her home town. Always a planner, she has a very detailed project - 'The Sophie Project' - to help her get back on track. Her first task is to find a boyfriend, she has a friends wedding to attend soon and can't stand the thought of attending alone. She meets the hero Dan after a disastrous attempt at speed dating and she ends up telling him everything, including her project, but not her biggest secret. Dan is very intrigued by Sophie, he recognises her vulnerability as well as her bravery in trying to re-build her life after everything she has been through. He is also very attracted to her so he offers to be her fake boyfriend in return for her helping out at his bar. Dan tries hard to push Sophie into more spontaneity, which also means he gets to spend more time with her. Despite Sophie's attempts to ignore the chemistry between her and Dan, she eventually gives in a falls for him. But with Dan's reasons for not wanting a long term commitment and Sophie's secret being very closely related it seems like there can never be a future for them.
I adored this book, it's just lovely. I remember reading this last year during the New Voices competition and enjoying it, I have to admit I thought it would be aimed at the Modern/Presents line rather than the Romance line. But Leah has managed to write this with all the sizzle you would want without the 'actual sex', great work! My heart broke for Sophie and her struggles, I really empathised with her character, especially as she is not written as self pitying or a martyr. She has so much chutzpah and spirit yet with the perfect amount of pain. Dan is a great hero too, and brilliantly written; during the major 'black moment' I hated and hurt for him at the same time.
The premise is original and well developed, I couldn't stop reading as I needed to know how these characters got their HEA. And it's worth it!
A fantastic debut by Leah Ashton, congrats.