After waiting five years for her fiancé to return from the war and marry her, Roxana Langley has been jilted! She may have longed for excitement, but this was not what she had in mind...
Who could possibly throw over a woman as beautiful and vivacious as Roxana? Certainly not Alex Winslow, the Earl of Ayersley, who has spent years trying in vain to forget his unrequited love. When he learns she's been abandoned by her cad of a fiancé, he finds himself offering a shoulder for her to cry on. Comfort soon turns into a passionate kiss—and scandal when they are caught in an embrace.
Only one thing will save Roxana from certain ruination: marriage to the earl. The match may save her reputation, but responsible, tongue-tied Ayersley is a far cry from her dashing former fiancé. She's convinced Ayersley is merely doing his duty...while he's sure Roxana is still in love with another man. Are they trading one disaster for another?
One of my favorite types of romance plots is unrequited love especially on the side of the hero. It is a fairly rare storyline that takes some effort to find in the sea of Regency spies, scandals, and balls. I'm not sure why this plot appeals to me, but there is something fun about watching how the admirer handles their feelings and how the admired party deals with the truth about their admirer. I was excited to see the book summary for Ruined By Rumor and even more pumped when I received a copy of it from Netgalley.
My favorite part of the book is the hero, Alex. He has loved the heroine, Roxanna, for years, but his reserved nature kept him from the telling Roxanna the truth about his feelings for her especially when she becomes engaged to another man. After the engagement falls apart and Alex's attempts at comfort result in scandal, he is forced to ask for Roxanna's hand even though he believes she is in love with her original fiance. I love that Alex is not your typical alpha Regency rake. He is a lord and takes his responsibilities very seriously. This is a refreshing change and I appreciate that Everett was able to create such a nice guy without making him into a wimp.
Roxanna took some getting used to, but I cared for her by the end. I really felt for her when her fiance ended their betrothal especially after she had waited so long for him to return from war. In the early stages of her marriage to Alex, I felt like Roxanna acted a bit like a spoiled brat though I can understand her motivations for her actions. It just was hard to read especially knowing how deeply Alex loved her.
Much of the book's plot dealt with Alex and Roxanna trying to make the best of their situation. As one would expect from such a storyline, there are quite a few misunderstandings. Most of them were solved quickly, but some continued on in order to keep the drama going. There were many romantic moments between Alex and Roxanna which I adored. Everett's writing also kept me entertained with her elegant style that was beautiful without going too far into purple prose territory.
All in all, Ruined By Rumor is a sweet historical romance that I devoured in two days. It has well-written characters, a simple plot, elegant writing, and some amazingly tender moments. This is the first book I've read by Alyssa Everett, but I will definitely keep an eye out for more.
****Thanks to Netgalley and Carina Press for providing me with an e-ARC of this book.****