London, 1815: Lady Mildred Weller (Eddie to her friends) has few prospects for marriage. If she can’t attract the available—though considerably older—Lord Averdale, she may be doomed to spinsterhood. She’s even willing to enter into that loveless union, if only to escape her mother’s stifling and increasingly desperate dominance. And she may have found the perfect person to help her achieve that goal.
Ezekiel Blackwood is a botanist as well as Lord Averdale’s nephew and heir. He is also a social disaster. Cross-pollination he understands; the fairer sex not at all. But in Lady Eddie, he discovers a kindred spirit. When she asks for his assistance in assessing Lord Averdale’s interest in her, Ezekiel is crushed. But naturally, he thinks, she could never fall in love with someone like him. Ezekiel’s matchmaking cousin is only too happy to arrange a discreet rendezvous for their conspiracy—a greenhouse. Of course in such a setting, it’s only natural that feelings might begin to bloom…
Publisher and Release Date: InterMix, April 2016
Time and Setting: England, 1815
Genre: Historical Romance
Heat Level: 1
Reviewer Rating: 4 stars
Review by: Heather C.
A lot happens in the eighty pages of this novella so that it felt much longer than it actually was. If I hadn’t known better, I would have thought this was just a slightly shorter-than-normal length novel. Novellas can sometimes fall into a trap where the pacing feels too fast or characters are left underdeveloped, but not here! Kathleen Kimmel carefully utilizes each word to move the plot forward or flesh out her characters.
Lady Eddie is not your classic beauty and her overbearing mother tells her so every day. Her mother, despairing that Eddie will never be married, sets her sights on Lord Averdale, a much older prospective husband. Ezekiel Blackwell, Lord Averdale’s nephew, notices a beautiful woman one night across the ballroom, but with his deplorable social skills, he ends up talking to her about strawberries. When these two social misfits are thrown into a friendship to help Lady Eddie achieve her mission, what could possibly go wrong?
Within just a few short pages I felt very sure of my feelings for Lady Eddie and Co. Lady Eddie and Ezekiel are not your beautiful, elegant, stars of the ball, but rather studious and even strange to the ton. Their fish-out-of-water nature at these grand Season events made for some comical scenes. Thinking back on it, these would be two people I would probably fit right in with if I’d lived back in that time! Lady Eddie’s mother is certainly not someone to mess with, and that makes it all the more exciting when her daughter does exactly that; even the best laid and devious plans often go awry! Although she might seem a little over-the-top, I’m sure people like her mother certainly existed then as they do now.
The romance element here is sweet and very unexpected for the couple involved; by that I mean that as the reader you see it coming, but the characters not so much. Ezekiel is not interested in looking for love, but eventually decides that a wife could be useful in some ways, while Eddie’s marriage prospects has been laid out by her mother and she is given no say in the matter. It’s refreshing to see these two novices to the Season, which seems filled with those who are playing the game; and that naiveté played into some funny moments that endeared the characters to me.
A Débutante’s Guide to Rebellion is a novella where I felt my time was well-spent. It’s an enjoyable, light-hearted romp and I was impressed with how much I came to care for these characters over just the short amount of time I had to spend with them. I would love to see them appear in another piece of this series, and even though this is part of one, I never felt I was missing something by not having read the previous book. Based on my enjoyment of Kimmel’s writing style, I will definitely be exploring her other titles.