Hello, sunshines, Today, I have the massive pleasure to be sharing my review of the gorgeous; The Silk Merchant’s Convenient Wife by Elisabeth Hobbes, I can’t wait to share this book with you all. First, I want to say thank you to Elisabeth for my advanced reader copy.
The Silk Merchant’s Convenient Wife by Elisabeth Hobbes
Genre: Victorian, Historical Romance / Publisher: Mills and Boon, Harlequin / Release Date; 20th August 2020
An inconvenient passion…
His parents’ loveless relationship has left silk merchant Jonathan Harcourt suspicious of marriage. But in order to expand his mill and have an heir, he must marry his neighbour Aurelia Upford. Even more surprising than finding himself with a clever, beautiful society wife is the unexpected passion that flares between them, and the unsettling emotions it leads to. Sharing a bed was part of their arrangement, but can Jonathan risk sharing his heart, too?
I am a big fan of Elisabeth Hobbes work, she is such an accomplished and gifted storyteller, she never fails to enthral the reader with clever words, knowledge and meticulous research – honestly, her medieval’s are in a league of their own – and her fist Victorian is just as rich and vibrant as the others.
I love the setting within the silk industry, Elisabeth doesn’t make that way of life all happy and prosperous, she gives a real and clear picture of life within the industry, the good and bad, I personally found the mention of the dreaded ‘millers lung’ (which is pretty much the same as the miner’s lung for those who don’t know, you breathe in the fibres and over time they destroy the lungs) very touching and gives light into one of the many illnesses that befell those who worked in the industry.
I have to say that I was taken with this book even before reading it, that cover is so striking it actually made me think of one of my all-time favourite drama’s North and South, and from that moment on every single time Johnathon was in a scene I had this image of Richard Armitage’s; Mr Thornton in my head. I was just waiting for ‘that’ kissing scene if there is I’m not going to spoil it for you, you will just have to pop to the shops and pick up a copy, but I will say that this does lead us down a merry path never knowing in which direction you will turn.
Johnathan is such a likeable chap, there is a touch of scandal in his past in the way he and his mother ended up living in Macclesfield, and why a nobleman would be working in a silk factory. I really, really like and respect Jonathan, anyone who follows the blog will know my utter love of a self-made man, and even though our boy isn’t working-class, he has worked damn hard to be where he is. He has pushed and fought for everything he now holds dear he can hold his head high for all he has achieved and that alone made me fall head over heels for this aspiring man. But, he isn’t just all stuffy cravats and starched collars he is a real hottie, sexy, suave, gentle, clever – even though I did get a sense of a bit of a ruthless edge, imaginative, a bit blunt and never minces his words (another reason I like him) and he is very, very passionate – I know what your thinking, get your minds out of the gutter 😉 no, he is passionate in that way, but more about his work and making the factory and the business the best it can be. He’s not afraid to get his hands dirty, he genuinely cares for his workers and for the poor, plus – and this is very important – he has a brilliant wit, it’s rare and hidden away under his cold factory boss exterior, but there are moments when you see that curving of the lips. It’s like I said, he is Mr Thornton…sigh!
Witnessing what happened to his parent’s marriage really impacted how he sees marriage to be, he doesn’t want to end up in the same position, which is one of the reason’s he is so against the idea of marriage. But he knows that he really needs a son and heir to carry on once he’s gone and to have that he needs a wife, which is where our lovely Aurelia (honestly, I would love to know how you actually pronounce her name, I’m hopeless with names)
Aurelia has a bit of a black mark against her, after a scandal which made the family move, she has got this black sheep sort of aura about her, deep down, I think her family do think she is to blame for their misfortune and as such she feels guilty and ashamed. She is a naïve, quiet and unassuming little thing that just needs a little love. She is content that her marriage will be one of convenience and not love, so once she starts seeing her new husband in a completely new, devastatingly tantalising light she is shocked at how much of her wants him, but she won’t love him, she is determined not to spoil anything and stick to the agreement ….yeah, right, there is only so long you can hold back from jumping on gorgeous Jonathan, he is way too tempting.
I adore the little touches of Jonathan’s and Aurelia’s personality’s which really brought them alive, such as Jonathan with his diary, it’s such a simple thing but I loved that little detail, whenever something of import happened he would write in it. It’s such an everyday thing to do, I mean haven’t we all had, or have got a diary?
I did think that the first couple of chapters after Jonathon and his mother flee their home, in the beginning, were a little slow in pace, which was a little surprising at first as I am so used to Elisabeth really hyping up the tension from the start in her previous books, It’s just me I think, I am becoming way too fussy. Once Aurelia and Jonathon married and they started to attempt to wade through the uneven waters of married life, then everything that I personally felt was lacking in the start fell into place. But despite my initial thoughts the gentler approach worked well with Jonathon and Aurelia’s story, they aren’t the kind of couple who need lots of fuss and huge showy scenes, they capture the attention and the imagination all on their own.
I thought their relationship developed beautifully throughout the book, there an instant bubbling of chemistry that takes them both off guard and that soon develops from chaste longing to unrepented love and lust. It’s not boom straight into bed, even when married the first bedroom scenes are quick and straight to the point, but there is a constant spark, an undercurrent of frustration as their feelings grow stronger.
The Silk Merchant’s Convenient Wife is a beautifully written captivating love story, full of gentle passion, richly textured detail and a misty like a longing that envelopes you as you read. The plot takes you on a steady journey, with a few surprises thrown in to keep you guessing. The characters are perfect for each other, they may seem a little chalk and cheese at first but once together you know that they were made for each other.