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More Than a Stranger

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When his family abandoned him at Eton, Benedict Hastings found an unexpected ally in his best friend’s sister. Her letters kept him going—until the day he had to leave everything behind. Years later, Benedict has seen his share of betrayal, but when treachery hits close to home, he turns to his old friend for safe haven…. After five torturous years on the marriage circuit, When his family abandoned him at Eton, Benedict Hastings found an unexpected ally in his best friend’s sister. Her letters kept him going—until the day he had to leave everything behind. Years later, Benedict has seen his share of betrayal, but when treachery hits close to home, he turns to his old friend for safe haven…. After five torturous years on the marriage circuit, Lady Evelyn Moore is finally free to live her life as she wishes. So when her brother shows up with a dashing stranger, she finds herself torn between her dreams...and newfound desires. Despite his determination to keep Evie at a distance, Benedict cannot deny the attraction that began with a secret correspondence. Yet as they begin to discover one another, the dangers of Benedict’s world find them, threatening their lives, their love, and everything they thought they could never have…


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When his family abandoned him at Eton, Benedict Hastings found an unexpected ally in his best friend’s sister. Her letters kept him going—until the day he had to leave everything behind. Years later, Benedict has seen his share of betrayal, but when treachery hits close to home, he turns to his old friend for safe haven…. After five torturous years on the marriage circuit, When his family abandoned him at Eton, Benedict Hastings found an unexpected ally in his best friend’s sister. Her letters kept him going—until the day he had to leave everything behind. Years later, Benedict has seen his share of betrayal, but when treachery hits close to home, he turns to his old friend for safe haven…. After five torturous years on the marriage circuit, Lady Evelyn Moore is finally free to live her life as she wishes. So when her brother shows up with a dashing stranger, she finds herself torn between her dreams...and newfound desires. Despite his determination to keep Evie at a distance, Benedict cannot deny the attraction that began with a secret correspondence. Yet as they begin to discover one another, the dangers of Benedict’s world find them, threatening their lives, their love, and everything they thought they could never have…

30 review for More Than a Stranger

  1. 4 out of 5

    Shawna

    3 stars – Historical/Regency Romance This is a pretty good debut, and I enjoyed the author’s writing style and the witty banter between the H/h and the siblings. It features some of my favorite plot devices...heroine crushing on older brother’s best friend, childhood friends/sweethearts maturing over amusing, flirtatious correspondence, seemingly unrequited love, and quirky family relationships. Unfortunately, the deception, intrigue, mystery, and suspense part of the storyline didn’t work as wel 3 stars – Historical/Regency Romance This is a pretty good debut, and I enjoyed the author’s writing style and the witty banter between the H/h and the siblings. It features some of my favorite plot devices...heroine crushing on older brother’s best friend, childhood friends/sweethearts maturing over amusing, flirtatious correspondence, seemingly unrequited love, and quirky family relationships. Unfortunately, the deception, intrigue, mystery, and suspense part of the storyline didn’t work as well and that combined with the fact that Benedict and Evie share nothing more than a few kisses dragged down my rating. The HEA felt rushed and just wasn’t as sweet or satisfying enough for me without a single love scene between the H/h. (view spoiler)[Evie’s pregnancy in the epilogue would have been more meaningful if their romantic and sexual union had been shared with the reader. (hide spoiler)] That’s this avid romance reader’s modest opinion, anyhow.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Insh

    letters. predominantly letters. i am a sucker for letters and witty conversations and this book had both. i loved the concept that the initial contact is a series of letters that started when she was 11 and he not much older. certain parts felt like a big drag, but maybe it was my moods. “And I love you,” he said as she drew him down for another kiss. “Just don’t be surprised if while you are looking to the heavens, I am looking to you. You, my dear Mrs. Hastings, are all the beauty, guidance, and letters. predominantly letters. i am a sucker for letters and witty conversations and this book had both. i loved the concept that the initial contact is a series of letters that started when she was 11 and he not much older. certain parts felt like a big drag, but maybe it was my moods. “And I love you,” he said as she drew him down for another kiss. “Just don’t be surprised if while you are looking to the heavens, I am looking to you. You, my dear Mrs. Hastings, are all the beauty, guidance, and light I will ever need.”

  3. 5 out of 5

    Booknut

    Ah...forgiveness. Something that some fictional females hand out like candy, and that fictional males often don't deserve. I'm sorry gents, but saying "sorry" does not get you an automatic Get Out Of Jail Free card. Relationships are not games of Monopoly come to life. Why is that fictional males tend to screw up royally, break the female's heart, and then all they have to do is: (i) Be in a near-death incident (ii) Say they're "sorry" (iii) Write a long, regret-filled letter ...and the female is Ah...forgiveness. Something that some fictional females hand out like candy, and that fictional males often don't deserve. I'm sorry gents, but saying "sorry" does not get you an automatic Get Out Of Jail Free card. Relationships are not games of Monopoly come to life. Why is that fictional males tend to screw up royally, break the female's heart, and then all they have to do is: (i) Be in a near-death incident (ii) Say they're "sorry" (iii) Write a long, regret-filled letter ...and the female is rushing into their arms again, like nothing ever happened! But let's be honest. Sometimes these women set themselves up for disappointment. I'm as much of a romantic as the next woman. But seriously, girls - don't fall in love with a guy you've just met, or to a guy you've never seen face to face...and then become heartbroken when he doesn't reciprocate your feelings. Real, working, healthy relationships take time. And they also need a certain amount of R.E.S.P.E.C.T. Come on, guys: even Sonic the Hedgehog knows the importance of respect. (Although his spelling leaves something to be desired!) If I were Evie, I would have kicked Benedict out on his sorry behind the moment I realised he'd been lying to me. Excuses be damned! Since when did being a secret agent for the government absolve a man of all the wrongs he's done?! Apart from the 'less than desirable' relationship, there were some good parts to this book. Especially the romantic kiss under the stars, which was totally swoon-worthy. Buuuuuut straight after the kiss, Benedict goes back to his 'hot and cold' routine. Honestly, he's so hot and cold that he could have been a part of Katy Perry's Hot N Cold music video! (Just insert a handsome man in Regency wear in the background!) Overall this book was a mix of hits and misses. But I did enjoy it overall, and it was a pleasant read.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Becca

    More Than a Stranger is Erin Knightley's debut novel. I have been reading her second series and all of her novellas and I can say, I am a huge EK fan; unfortunately, this one didn't do it for me :( Evie and Benedict start an unorthodox, but often hilarious, written correspondence when Evie discovers that Benedict has become a close friend of her brother and she gets jealous. This exchange continues for years throughout their childhood until Evie is 16 and Benedict is 18 and finishes school. I am More Than a Stranger is Erin Knightley's debut novel. I have been reading her second series and all of her novellas and I can say, I am a huge EK fan; unfortunately, this one didn't do it for me :( Evie and Benedict start an unorthodox, but often hilarious, written correspondence when Evie discovers that Benedict has become a close friend of her brother and she gets jealous. This exchange continues for years throughout their childhood until Evie is 16 and Benedict is 18 and finishes school. I am a sucker for for pen-pal stories, which is why I selected the book. Unfortunately, the story picks up again 10 years after the letters brutally ended. After the sweet beginning, the story took a downward turn into the false identities plot line (aside from cross-dressing heroines, false identities is my least favorite trope). Benedict is an agent for the crown and has recently been betrayed; therefore, he turns to his oldest friend, Richard, brother to Evie, for a place to hideout and think about his next move. Richard takes Benedict back to his country estate that Benedict assumes will be empty, but soon drags Richard's entire family into his mess (they are all at the estate) by lying to them about why he is with them. To make matters worse, Benedict further lies to Evie by not telling her who he really is so that he doesn't have to face all of the hurt and questions that will result in why he wrote such a nasty letter to abruptly end their correspondence (and you get to see the letter at the end of the story and it is awful). Then, despite himself, he leads Evie on and has her develop feelings for his false identity. Ugh. So, needless to say, the hero was not at all swoon-worthy. He was a terrible spy, he lied to his oldest friends and put the entire family in danger, and he kept having a pity party about his situation instead of coming clean and facing the music. Spineless much? Also, he is moody because of all the lies which I find terribly unattractive. Poor Evie is constantly confused: Benedict and his moods--changeable did not even begin to describe the man. In the short amount of time she had known him, it seemed as though she had already seen a dozen different sides of him. The false identity continues until after the halfway point, but until the last 15% of the novel, there are still secrets that Benedict has to reveal. Evie dishes out some pretty vicious epithets when the truth does come out. Her comeback to his apology really highlights how much of an idiot Benedict was: "I didn't want to hurt you by dredging up old memories." "So you lied?" She shook her head, setting loose a few golden wisps of hair from her braid. "What a brilliant plan. Lie about your name so as to avoid all the repercussions, all the while convincing yourself it is all for my own good. Forgive me if I don't fall on my knees in gratitude for your magnanimous gesture." Everything works out in the end, but I just didn't quite get all gooey inside because the hero was just not, well, a hero. I think romances work best for readers when you are at least somewhat in love with the hero at the end. If all you do throughout the book is curl your lip in disgust at his cowardly and inept behavior, well, the HEA just doesn't mean as much as it should, no matter how sweet the ending. Now, I know this is a pretty negative review here, but I will close by saying that despite this book being a dud for me, I am still very much a fan of EK's work. I have loved some of her other novels and I think she handles stories best when there is not a lot of excess spy drama (which is what happened in her second series and her novellas). She has a lot of fun scenes, particularly between friends and between siblings. It is these funny little scenes that kept me going despite really not liking the hero much. Here are some examples that made me smile: A light-hearted scene between Richard (fashionable) and Benedict (not so much): "Good God, man--who tied your cravat--a wild animal?" ..... "At least I don't look as though I've been assaulted by a French dressmaker." A simple bit of wisdom: The golden rule, however tarnished, was steadfastly observed: Do not nose into other people's business lest they nose into yours. A hilarious bit of backhanded complimenting from Evie to her brother Richard: "As I recall, you may ride like a beef-wit, but you shoot like a cavalryman." See? There are some really cute bits. EK is a great writer and I will still be reading all her books, but if you are new to her writing, this is one I would skip.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Annie

    Posted on Under the Covers Erin Knightley’s debut regency novel, MORE THAN A STRANGER is a surprise waiting to be discovered by all. Immediately upon starting this book, I knew that I had found something special. Knightley has a distinct and unique voice that I instantly noticed and loved. Her writing is natural, seeming to flow without much effort at all. From the start, her writing captured my attention and didn’t let go until the very end. In fact, it flowed so well that I didn’t feel as if I w Posted on Under the Covers Erin Knightley’s debut regency novel, MORE THAN A STRANGER is a surprise waiting to be discovered by all. Immediately upon starting this book, I knew that I had found something special. Knightley has a distinct and unique voice that I instantly noticed and loved. Her writing is natural, seeming to flow without much effort at all. From the start, her writing captured my attention and didn’t let go until the very end. In fact, it flowed so well that I didn’t feel as if I was reading at all. The heroine, Evelyn aka Evie Moore and the hero, Benedict Hastings have been long time friends. Despite the fact that they are separated as Hastings resides in Eton, Evie and Hastings still keep in contact through letters. These letters introduces the lovely friendship and most importantly the trust they have developed for one another. Though sometimes teasing and snarky, they reflect a blooming long distance relationship that remains strong until one day, Evie stops receiving these letters from Hastings. Naturally, she wonders what happened to Hastings but no word has been heard from him at all. Later, Evie’s older brother, Richard and his best friend, Hastings return home but do not know that Richard’s family is there and in particular, Evie. It appears that Hastings wants to keep his identity a secret because when he stumbles upon Evie, he lies to her face, introducing himself as Mr. Benedict instead of Hastings. With Evie’s brother’s help, Hastings is able to keep his true identity a secret. However, Richard’s older younger sister soon finds out. The reason why Hastings wishes to keep his identity a secret is because he fears for Evie’s feelings. Their friendship ended, or rather had been stalled by his actions and he still feels terrible about it. Normally, I would be angry at any hero who lies to the heroine. However, I couldn’t find myself being upset by his actions. This time, the deception is one that readers actually want the heroine to discover because we know how well they got along through the letters. Knightley achieves great sexual tension between the hero and heroine. Evie cannot deny the physical attraction she has for Mr. Benedict. So though her body declares its need, Evie doesn’t act on them because her heart belongs to someone else. Or so she thinks... Fans of Julia Quinn, Lisa Kleypas and Suzanne Enoch would enjoy this book in a new series. With Lord Raleigh’s book next, I can truly say that I am excited for it and Knightley has gained a new fan in me. *ARC provided by publisher

  6. 4 out of 5

    Lady Bocwyrm

    I FEEL AS IF I'VE SPOTTED THE LOCH NESS MONSTER! IT'S A HISTORICAL ROMANCE THAT WHILE BEING ALL THAT TYPIFIES A ROMANCE...IT WAS CLEAN! THE MOST SCANDALOUS THING TO HAPPEN IN THIS BOOK IS THE LOVE INTRESTS *GASP* KISS (I KNOW, SHOCKING). NO CLOTHING WAS REARRANGED OR REMOVED (THE LEADING MAN DOES HAVE HIS SHIRT OFF ONCE, BUT THAT WAS BECAUSE HE WAS ALONE, IN HIS ROOM, EXERCISING), NO ONE TUMBLED INTO BED WITH ANYONE ELSE (IT IS IMPLIED THAT THEY DID SO, AFTER THEY WERE MARRIED); HANDS DID NOT WA I FEEL AS IF I'VE SPOTTED THE LOCH NESS MONSTER! IT'S A HISTORICAL ROMANCE THAT WHILE BEING ALL THAT TYPIFIES A ROMANCE...IT WAS CLEAN! THE MOST SCANDALOUS THING TO HAPPEN IN THIS BOOK IS THE LOVE INTRESTS *GASP* KISS (I KNOW, SHOCKING). NO CLOTHING WAS REARRANGED OR REMOVED (THE LEADING MAN DOES HAVE HIS SHIRT OFF ONCE, BUT THAT WAS BECAUSE HE WAS ALONE, IN HIS ROOM, EXERCISING), NO ONE TUMBLED INTO BED WITH ANYONE ELSE (IT IS IMPLIED THAT THEY DID SO, AFTER THEY WERE MARRIED); HANDS DID NOT WANDER ANYWHERE THEY SHOULDN'T. IT'S A TRULY DELIGHTFUL, LIGHTHEARTED READ ABOUT FALLING IN LOVE WITH YOUR BEST FRIEND. AND TO TOP IT OFF, IT'S A CLEAN ENOUGH BOOK THAT I WOULD NOT HESITATE TO GIVE IT TO ANYONE FROM MY GRANDMOTHER TO A TEEN. I LOOK FOWARD TO SEEING WHAT ELSE ERIN KNIGHTLEY COMES OUT WITH.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Arely

    We start off with Evie and Benedict (then known as Hastings) writing letters back and forth, back and forth... until something forced Hastings to stop all correspondence with Evie. Then he comes back, for reasons unknown to us, and asks his best friend—who just so happens to be Evie’s brother—if he can stay with him for a little while. Richard (Evie’s brother) says yes. Then he bumps into Evie. Panicked, Benedict hides his identity from her, knowing that she would never forgive him for his last l We start off with Evie and Benedict (then known as Hastings) writing letters back and forth, back and forth... until something forced Hastings to stop all correspondence with Evie. Then he comes back, for reasons unknown to us, and asks his best friend—who just so happens to be Evie’s brother—if he can stay with him for a little while. Richard (Evie’s brother) says yes. Then he bumps into Evie. Panicked, Benedict hides his identity from her, knowing that she would never forgive him for his last letter. And then the story truly begins... I really enjoyed More Than A Stranger. Benedict’s reasons for cutting all ties from his old life—and his reasons for coming back—are hidden even from the reader. This kept me extremely curious as to what happened in Benedict’s life that he had to go to such extreme circumstances. There are hints to his past and his reasons, but they aren’t revealed until the ending is near. Evie, on the other hand, is an open book. We know all about her throughout the book, except for the Benedict’s mysterious last letter. We don’t know what he wrote, nor do we know why. Evie and Benedict are very strong characters, and their meetings always had me laughing or sighing—or both. While Evie could be very stubborn and Benedict could be very pig-headed, they worked together, and you could see it every time they met. I was always rooting for Benedict and Evie, even at the point when everything went wrong. However, I did feel like Evie and Richard overreacted a bit at a certain scene where what Benedict is running away from catches up to him. It was partly Benedict’s fault, but he had very good reasons and some things he couldn’t control. (I, for one, forgave Benedict immediately, but that’s not a surprise. I am, after all, a romantic ;D ) I also really liked the small twist at the end of the book! I was not expecting it and was very happy with the way things worked out. I recommend this book for people who enjoy action (though not a lot of it), passion, and most of all, love.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Caz

    I gave this a C+ for content and a C for narration at AudioGals, which I've rounded to 3 stars here. More Than a Stranger began very promisingly, with the hero and heroine falling into a correspondence when they are children (and I’m a sucker for a good “friends-to-lovers” story!). Lady Evelyn Moore is close to her brother, Richard, but when he goes off to Eton and forms a friendship with Benedict Hastings, Evie gets jealous. Upon receipt of yet another letter from Richard, which is full of “Hast I gave this a C+ for content and a C for narration at AudioGals, which I've rounded to 3 stars here. More Than a Stranger began very promisingly, with the hero and heroine falling into a correspondence when they are children (and I’m a sucker for a good “friends-to-lovers” story!). Lady Evelyn Moore is close to her brother, Richard, but when he goes off to Eton and forms a friendship with Benedict Hastings, Evie gets jealous. Upon receipt of yet another letter from Richard, which is full of “Hastings, this” and “Hastings, that”, eleven-year-old Evie has had enough and sets out to give the mysterious Hastings an epistolary dressing down. He responds to her letter and thus a correspondence is born. The letters between the two in the prologue and at the beginning of each chapter are one of the highlights of the book and demonstrate that Ms. Knightley has a real talent for witty banter and engaging dialogue. Alison Larkin’s reading once again revealed her deft touch for comedic narration, and I settled in for an enjoyable listening experience. Unfortunately however, I had listened to less than a quarter of the story before I began to get frustrated. We learn that Benedict had suddenly cut off all contact with Evie when he was eighteen and has had no contact with her for the past nine years. Neither she nor the reader/listener knows the reason for it and I discovered that I find this sort of plot development easier to cope with in print than I do in audio. There are hints that Benedict is in serious trouble, and as the story progresses, we discover that there are people looking for him who clearly do not wish him well. We are left in the dark as to why this is until well into the second half of the story. Benedict and Evie have never met and when Benedict needs to hide out as a result of whatever trouble he’s in, he turns to his best friend for help. He journeys to Hertford Hall with Richard, not expecting the family to be in residence but their departure for London has been delayed. When he meets Evie for the first time, Benedict is almost dumbstruck but instead of telling her who he is, he gives her an assumed name, without really considering what he is doing. One lie leads to another, and another, and before long Benedict is digging himself bigger and bigger holes. Not only is that frustrating in terms of the storytelling, it doesn’t say much for Benedict’s character, or his competence. He’s been working as an agent for the Crown for the past eight or nine years, but if he’s so easily panicked into lying, I have to wonder whether he was cut out to be a spy! You can read the rest of this review at AudioGals.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Dahlia (yadkny)

    As a young girl, Evie got her first taste of true jealousy when she discovered her beloved brother had indeed acquired a new best friend while away at Eton. She was her brother’s best friend, so to put everything to rights, Evie decided to write to this Hastings and establish that the title of best friend belonged solely to her. It wasn’t long before she received a very deliberate response to which she was compelled to reply in her own feisty fashion. And so began the unconventional courtship of As a young girl, Evie got her first taste of true jealousy when she discovered her beloved brother had indeed acquired a new best friend while away at Eton. She was her brother’s best friend, so to put everything to rights, Evie decided to write to this Hastings and establish that the title of best friend belonged solely to her. It wasn’t long before she received a very deliberate response to which she was compelled to reply in her own feisty fashion. And so began the unconventional courtship of Evie and Hastings. Throughout the years that followed Evie and Hastings continued to write to each other and formed a bond and trust that transcended expectation. They became comfortable and confiding in their anonymous companionship. However, just when they were to become introduced for the first time in the flesh, life led Hastings on another path and one that required he cut all ties to his previous life including Evie. What neither of them counted on was the spirit of their relationship to continue on when eventually their paths cross. As they explore this new and yet familiar connection, Hastings must continue keeping his identity secret even while Evie tempts him to distraction. She has shown him the life he could have and the one he wants most with her, but the cost of such desires could be deadly. From the beginning, the reader is swept away with the lively letters Evie and Hastings write to each other. Their correspondence is sarcastic, witty, and flirtatious and with each new chapter, an enlightening and relevant snippet from their letters is shared. I appreciated that there wasn’t a long dramatic setup and instead immediately focus in on the boy and girl who unknowingly spark a friendship with just ink and parchment. The high stakes drama and mounting consequences from Hastings’ actions is thoughtfully planned and written into the story. All the while, an underlying romantic tension mounts between these two challenging and independent characters. Although the climax of the conflict was a little long winded, I was nevertheless immersed in the to be or not to be relationship status of Evie and Hastings. This historical read will appeal to romance fans looking for a bit of intrigue and suspense with a promise of charming characters and setting. A delightful start to a new series and debut author! Review posted @ Night Owl Reviews

  10. 4 out of 5

    Andrea

    This was such a sweet, lovely, and even heartbreaking story. There was a little too much unnecessary drama towards the end for my taste, but still a great start to a promising series.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Melanie

    Oh my but this blurb does not do justice to this wonderful, sweet and very touching love story. Ms. Knightley's debut novel tells the story of two people that come to know each other through the correspondence first, and then many years later both feel the physical attraction that was years in making. Lady Evelyn Moore is a lady to be reckoned with ever since she was a child. She loves her family, but adores her brother Richard , so when someone such as a friend from his boarding school begins to Oh my but this blurb does not do justice to this wonderful, sweet and very touching love story. Ms. Knightley's debut novel tells the story of two people that come to know each other through the correspondence first, and then many years later both feel the physical attraction that was years in making. Lady Evelyn Moore is a lady to be reckoned with ever since she was a child. She loves her family, but adores her brother Richard , so when someone such as a friend from his boarding school begins to threaten that relationship, she decides to put him in his place by ordering telling him that Richard already has a best friend and he is to leave him be. "`Dear Mr. Hastings, I am sorry to tell you that my brother already has a best friend. I don't care that you can shoot and ride well. Besides, I promise that you cannot ride better than me. Kindly leave Richard alone.'" As a young Benedict Hastings receives this missive from his best friends sister, his curiosity takes flight and nothing would have stopped him from responding to this impertinent child. "'Dear Lady Evelyn, I would first like to say that, as a dear family friend to your brother, I give you leave to address me simply as Hastings. I hope you will likewise allow me to address you as Evie, since that is how I think of you, thanks to your brother's many stories. Second, I would like to point out that Richard is free to befriend whomever he chooses. As it is, we get along well, so I don't expect I shall abandon our acquaintance, particularly over his little sister's complaint. We are, as I have stated, great friends by now. Third, as Richard is here at Eton, and you are off in the country, I don't think it is very well done of you to begrudge him a friend. As his friend, I, for one, would want him to have as many acquaintances as would make him happy. And finally, I am sure you do ride very well-for a girl. I am, my lady, your most humble servant. The Honorable Benedict Hastings" From that point on we're invited to witness the development and growth of two amazing characters. My heart went out to both and especially to the young man who through neglect of his family tries to fill the void with letters from this young woman who slowly but surely burrows deep into his heart. Erin Knightley's debut is well written and paced to perfection. She took her time in developing her characters and rolling out their story slowly, without rushing it. It was my pleasure to watch the budding, innocent relationship between Evie and Hastings turn into a passionate romance. If you're a fan of Carla Kelly, this novel will surely delight you with its wit and charm. It did me. It reminded me so much of the `old fashioned movies' in which the sexually explicit scenes were left out, yet still made your heart race because they were left to my imagination. And this is what made this story, to me, unique and sweet. Melanie (for Romantiv Crush Junkies eZine)

  12. 5 out of 5

    Britney (BookDrunkSloth)

    Wow I really needed this reread. I have been remembering this love story off and on since I first read it. It wasn't as good as the last time I read it, but you can only read a book for the first time once (saddly). I had forgotten about Evie's love of Astronomy. The song, "Bright" by Echosmith makes me think of this book now. I love it! From my reread I found a few quotes I loved as well. I'll add them to my favorite quotes tonight. (view spoiler)[Everything within her longed to scream out, to m Wow I really needed this reread. I have been remembering this love story off and on since I first read it. It wasn't as good as the last time I read it, but you can only read a book for the first time once (saddly). I had forgotten about Evie's love of Astronomy. The song, "Bright" by Echosmith makes me think of this book now. I love it! From my reread I found a few quotes I loved as well. I'll add them to my favorite quotes tonight. (view spoiler)[Everything within her longed to scream out, to make them stop. But she didn't move or make a sound. She would not be responsible for distracting Benedict, not when distraction could lead to injury. Or worse-much worse. Evie pressed her hand to her mouth and waited. Finally, a female lead who is smart! I'm so done with all these girls getting in the middle of fights trying to help and end up just distracting the guy. (hide spoiler)] ~Read November 24, 2014. Considering this was a first book for Erin Knightley, I am amazed! This was so phenomenal a read I didn't put the book down and finished it in less then a day. I'm so glad I picked this book to try. The characters were all wonderful, and like all the best books the secrets were not all revealed at once. It was also exciting. It was wonderful. It is now in my top 5 favorite historical romances.I can't wait to read the next one:) ~Read October 13, 2013.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Lindsey

    I really enjoyed this story. It was light and fun. The family dynamic is great and refreshing. The series of letters throughout the book was great. Great light series by a new author. I look forward to next books in this series.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jenny

    Note to self: avoid book because zero love scenes between H/h.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Karen Darling

    A little funny, but too tedious with the teasing.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Ana

    Read June 12, 2018 More Than A Stranger was interesting at the start but gradually became less so as the story progressed. 1 star

  17. 4 out of 5

    Starbubbles

    This was the last book I read for 2016, and I have to say, it ended on a good note. I enjoyed reading their secret correspondence throughout the book. I also appreciated the combination of past and "present" events to add to the anticipation of everything. But I greatly enjoyed their wit and struggle to connect. I apparently need my characters to go through life or death ordeals because for the last quarter of the book I was like "YAY!" haha, don't judge me. Anyway, am I tired of people being ho This was the last book I read for 2016, and I have to say, it ended on a good note. I enjoyed reading their secret correspondence throughout the book. I also appreciated the combination of past and "present" events to add to the anticipation of everything. But I greatly enjoyed their wit and struggle to connect. I apparently need my characters to go through life or death ordeals because for the last quarter of the book I was like "YAY!" haha, don't judge me. Anyway, am I tired of people being hopelessly in love with their first kiss and spoilers, marry them? Yes. Oh England and your silly ways of propriety. Makes me terribly glad America bypassed that sticky royalty business. I mean, all women should be treated with respect because they are humans, not some to be treated like tissues because they are not of some sort of noble birth. Unnecessary class bullet dodged as far as I am concerned. I got sidetracked. This book was fairly light considering all of the mortal danger everyone was in. Things wrapped up all happy-pappy. I was even able to put the book down to sleep on occasion. All in all, I truly like reading Knightley's books.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Thenia

    The story of Evie and Benedict, whose acquaintance begins when Evie's beloved older brother leaves for Eton where he meets his new best friend Benedict. Evie is not happy about losing her place as her brother's best friend and writes a letter to inform Benedict of the fact and warn him off, and so their five year correspondence begins. Unexpectedly, Benedict cuts off their correspondence just before their first meeting and breaks Evie's heart in the process. Years later, when circumstances bring ab The story of Evie and Benedict, whose acquaintance begins when Evie's beloved older brother leaves for Eton where he meets his new best friend Benedict. Evie is not happy about losing her place as her brother's best friend and writes a letter to inform Benedict of the fact and warn him off, and so their five year correspondence begins. Unexpectedly, Benedict cuts off their correspondence just before their first meeting and breaks Evie's heart in the process. Years later, when circumstances bring about the long-delayed first meeting, Benedict keeps his identity a secret, but his plans to stay away from Evie do not work out as planned and the two end up falling in love all over again. Misunderstandings, secrets and old hurts get in the way of their happily ever after, which finally comes about after everything is sorted. I grew impatient with the two of them halfway through and my impatience with Evie did not lessen until the end and while understandable, Benedict's determination to keep his secrets caused more harm than good. The book begins with the first letters the two exchange and there are sometimes amusing, sometimes bittersweet snippets of their letters to each other in the beginning of each chapter which I really enjoyed reading. Next in the series comes A Taste for Scandal and Richard's story, after the Christmas novella, Miss Mistletoe.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Melody May (What I'm Reading)

    We have the first book to a new novel to a brand new series. It's always interesting to see how the characters will develop in the story. We have Lady Evelyn Moore (aka Evie) who starts writing to her brothers friend when he went of to Eton. She was so sick and tire of hearing how great his new best friend, Benedict Hastings, was. Evie decided to take matters into her own hands and decides to write him a letter to state that he was not Richard's best friend, but she was. So this starts a friends We have the first book to a new novel to a brand new series. It's always interesting to see how the characters will develop in the story. We have Lady Evelyn Moore (aka Evie) who starts writing to her brothers friend when he went of to Eton. She was so sick and tire of hearing how great his new best friend, Benedict Hastings, was. Evie decided to take matters into her own hands and decides to write him a letter to state that he was not Richard's best friend, but she was. So this starts a friendship between Hastings and Evie. They wrote to each other and then all of the sudden the letters start, which causes Evie's broken heart. We jump ahead and we meet an older Evie and Hastings. So, we see the inner struggle that Hastings is dealing with trying to keep all his secrets from his friends and family. At the same time, trying to keep up the facade that his name is James Benedict, while trying to keep his feelings for Evie at bay. Overall, it was a sweet story of two friends who come to realize that love can start at a tender young age. And with that said, love at that age can be a tad bit fragile. I liked the book and I look forward to reading more books from this up and coming author.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jackie

    An annoying, unintelligent, and peevish heroine, a plethora of contemporary idiom, and a poorly-revealed secret spy plot make for an uninspiring debut. Read to about page 200 and just couldn't keep going. An annoying, unintelligent, and peevish heroine, a plethora of contemporary idiom, and a poorly-revealed secret spy plot make for an uninspiring debut. Read to about page 200 and just couldn't keep going.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Miso Hime

    2.5-3 stars. Not the best regency romance I've read. The plot twist/mystery/big secret that Hastings was keeping didn't shock nor excite me. I found it a little random and bizarre. Evie was rather entertaining as a heroine, but evidently lacking in any of the "drive" I prefer in my female leads. The best part has got to be the humour. The witty banters of Richard and the conversations of Evie & Hastings were the highlights for me. The plot itself wasn't particularly engaging. I couldn't see where th 2.5-3 stars. Not the best regency romance I've read. The plot twist/mystery/big secret that Hastings was keeping didn't shock nor excite me. I found it a little random and bizarre. Evie was rather entertaining as a heroine, but evidently lacking in any of the "drive" I prefer in my female leads. The best part has got to be the humour. The witty banters of Richard and the conversations of Evie & Hastings were the highlights for me. The plot itself wasn't particularly engaging. I couldn't see where the story was going as I was reading it, and was even more surprised when the big "tear" of the relationship between our leads occurred so suddenly halfway through the book. With that said, it was so downplayed and resolved before the chapter was even concluded. This irks me more than I'd care to admit, especially because the most intriguing part of the book's synopsis (to me), was the "I'm secretly your childhood correspondence Hastings but I don't want Evie to know" aspect. For that to be revealed and resolved as if the issue was merely to have biscuits or scones for tea was so lacklustre. Of course, this wasn't the worst of the worst. It was still enjoyable and easy to get through. The world was indeed set in Regency England (although entirely in the Hertford Hall at the countryside). The family is amazing, and the connection to the horses was great. The chemistry and romantic scenes between Evie and Hastings were also a great read, and beautifully written if I do say so myself. May or may not re read this in the future, but I'm glad I did get to read it anyway.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Courtney

    I heard about this author in my book club some time ago, and found her books in the library, so I decided to try them. This book has all the components of a book I love: a classy (and period-appropriate) cover, a untitled hero, and the fact that it was completely clean (I don't have an issue with authors who write about sex, but it was nice to find a non-inspirational clean romance that was published within the last five years). It is difficult for a hero or heroine who is lying or deceptive to I heard about this author in my book club some time ago, and found her books in the library, so I decided to try them. This book has all the components of a book I love: a classy (and period-appropriate) cover, a untitled hero, and the fact that it was completely clean (I don't have an issue with authors who write about sex, but it was nice to find a non-inspirational clean romance that was published within the last five years). It is difficult for a hero or heroine who is lying or deceptive to also be sympathetic, but I feel the author does a wonderful job with Benedict, who regrets his actions, especially when they lead to the woman he loves being put in danger. Evie is also a treasure, someone who is intelligent and unconventional, and I admit I cheered when she made the decision to ride off to make Benedict was safe.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Tahyun

    I realized late to the game that this was the author's first book? I've only read her more recent books and can see she's improved but I think this was sensational, especially for a debut. Great protagonists and fun story. I usually take a bit more steam in my romances (this doesn't go beyond heavy kisses) but she continually surprises me with her ability to build tension without it being frustrating or come off awkwardly or inconsistently prudish. Her romance is so well done. I realized late to the game that this was the author's first book? I've only read her more recent books and can see she's improved but I think this was sensational, especially for a debut. Great protagonists and fun story. I usually take a bit more steam in my romances (this doesn't go beyond heavy kisses) but she continually surprises me with her ability to build tension without it being frustrating or come off awkwardly or inconsistently prudish. Her romance is so well done.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Sharon

    A differently themed story made for an enjoyable read. Although the two were each wounded by the past and the present secrets and dangers this was an interesting story to watch come together. I will look for the next one in the series to see Richard's story. A differently themed story made for an enjoyable read. Although the two were each wounded by the past and the present secrets and dangers this was an interesting story to watch come together. I will look for the next one in the series to see Richard's story.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Becky Morris

    3.5 stars. I love the banter and jokes between the characters in this. There is one related to Shakespeare that had me rolling!! The romance felt like it sometimes had to take a backseat to the mystery storyline, but overall it was an enjoyable regency read.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Bathsheba Turner

    Palette cleanser. I'm showing my age though, I'm starting to find them a bit juvenile with their "I'm never forgiving you" ..."I forgive you" sagas. Palette cleanser. I'm showing my age though, I'm starting to find them a bit juvenile with their "I'm never forgiving you" ..."I forgive you" sagas.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Justyna Małgorzata

    Overly sweet, predictable, with near perfect characters (and I don't mean that in a good sense). I've read worse, but I don't think I'd reread this one. Overly sweet, predictable, with near perfect characters (and I don't mean that in a good sense). I've read worse, but I don't think I'd reread this one.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Caitlyn Workman

    Sweet, pithy, with a little bit of mystery. What a quick and enjoyable read.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Phoenix77

    Characters who fall in love through letters is one of my favorite plot devices, so at the start of More Than a Stranger I was ready to love it unconditionally. However, as the story unfolded I found I couldn't completely ignore some of the weaknesses in the plot or characters, making this more of a mid-grade read for me. Lady Evelyn Moore and Benedict Hastings began a correspondence during his early days at Cambridge, with their first letters being sharp tête-à-têtes with her trying to break his Characters who fall in love through letters is one of my favorite plot devices, so at the start of More Than a Stranger I was ready to love it unconditionally. However, as the story unfolded I found I couldn't completely ignore some of the weaknesses in the plot or characters, making this more of a mid-grade read for me. Lady Evelyn Moore and Benedict Hastings began a correspondence during his early days at Cambridge, with their first letters being sharp tête-à-têtes with her trying to break his friendship with her older brother Richard while he was intrigued by the guile of a young woman writing to a stranger. Small excerpts from the letters open each chapter and through their words you see how each was opening themself up, forming a bond that was as close to friendship and love as possible though post. Sadly, when Benedict makes a choice about his future he severs all ties to Evie, leaving her stunned and betrayed by his actions. I enjoyed Evie's character, a woman who was brash enough to write a young man and be as frank with him as if he were part of her own family. Yet for all of the bravado that Evie shows, she is quickly revealed to be a woman hiding her vulnerabilities and softer side. At twenty-six, she claims to want to put the marriage mart behind her and quietly fall into spinsterhood; however, inside she craves a relationship like she had shared with her pen-pal all those years past. When Evie meets her brother's “new” friend Mr. Benedict she is immediately smitten, wanting him to see her as a woman, and opening her heart to the flutters of romance that she meant to deny herself. Benedict was a much harder character to like as he came across as ineffectual when he should have been intelligent for the line of work that he was in. For years Benedict has survived on his own, rarely forming new attachments. His relationship with Evie was supposed to stay a part of his past, something he could always look back on fondly but not anything to return to. During a moment of crisis in his life, Benedict turns to his oldest friend Richard Moore and they travel to Richard's family estate never thinking that the family may still be in residence. Benedict literally bumps into Evie and right away he does all the wrong things, lying about his identity and trying to keep her at arm's length when a part of him wants to hold her close. I quickly got annoyed with the back and forth of Benedict's feelings. One moment his honor, duty, and future are all standing in the way of their being together, the next he's spending time with her and encouraging her tendre for him all the while knowing that he's courting her under false pretenses. Even though all of the component parts were there to make this a great read, the book never fully engaged me and I found myself putting it down for short periods before coming back to the story. For all of the positive traits that Evie displayed in the opening chapters of the story, at roughly the midpoint in the book she changes into an unforgiving shrew. Benedict, who wasn't the strongest of characters to start, became even weaker when all of his deceptions blow up in his face. It is a slow crawl back to the point where I wanted to see them both together again. The espionage plot that is running in the background of the story wasn't very interesting and it only reared its head when necessary to throw another roadblock between Evie and Benedict. However, for as much as these parts of the book weren't my favorite, I do have to give the author credit for portraying more realistic reactions to the unusual situations the characters find themselves in. Most books would have the heroine just forgive the hero his transgressions because of that overwhelming love she feels and with a quick grovel on his part everything would be perfect again. In this book, Evie reacts with anger and a sense of wanting him to hurt as much as she was hurt. Benedict's apologies were heartfelt, with knowledge that he may have destroyed his best chance at happiness when making his mistakes with Evie. Overall, with a strong start to the story and a satisfying resolution, I came away liking this book and happy to see Evie and Benedict slip back into the love they had shared before.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Barb Lie

    More Than a Stranger is Erin Knightley’s debut novel and her first in her Sealed With a Kiss series. Our heroine in this wonderful historical romance novel, is Evie Moore, and we meet her as a young child who worships her brother, Richard, who is now heading off to Eton. When Evie gets letters from her brother, he constantly talks about his new friend Hastings. Benedict Hastings is our hero, and Richard’s best friend. He learns all about Evie, as she writes a letter to him to tell him to back of More Than a Stranger is Erin Knightley’s debut novel and her first in her Sealed With a Kiss series. Our heroine in this wonderful historical romance novel, is Evie Moore, and we meet her as a young child who worships her brother, Richard, who is now heading off to Eton. When Evie gets letters from her brother, he constantly talks about his new friend Hastings. Benedict Hastings is our hero, and Richard’s best friend. He learns all about Evie, as she writes a letter to him to tell him to back off being her brother’s best friend, as she is already that. This starts a wonderful friendship of letters between young Evie and Hastings. Over the years, though they have never met, the letters built a great friendship of trust, which led both of them to care very much for each other. Then out of the blue, when Hastings graduated, he cut off Evie totally, with no reason, and she was heartbroken. A few years later, Evie, now a young lady, has decided she wants to work with horses, as has no intention of finding a suitable mate. Her mother is determined for her to go to London for the coming out ball, which Evie no longer wants anything to do with. Hastings visits Richard, without telling him too much of where he has been. Just that he needs a break and Richard offers him to come with him to his family home. Under the assumption that the family is in London during the season, Hastings accepts. Then to his shock, as he arrives he sees a girl run up to Richard and realizes that he is looking at the girl he loved from afar, Evie. But Hastings as he introduces himself to Evie, lies, as he does not want her to know who he is. He calls himself Mr. Benedict, and with Richard’s help, he keeps his true identity a secret, not wanting to hurt her, or for her to learn the real reason he disappeared. When Hastings left school, he was recruited by the English government to do undercover work, which even Richard did not know. Hence, his separation from his family and Evie. Though this is not really a mystery, there is some element of danger, as Hastings/Benedict left some baggage behind that will come to haunt him near the end. But More than a Stranger is a wonderful charming romance. Evie having sworn off men, having had her heart broken by Hastings, finds herself intrigued and enamored by the charming Benedict. Benedict, trying hard not to allow himself to hurt Evie, finds himself falling deeper in love with her, as she is more then he could ever have imagined. To watch their relationship grow, despite both not wanting this to develop, and Evie not knowing who he really was, was wonderfully done by Knightley. I loved Evie, who was not only beautiful, but vivacious, and extremely likeable. You can’t help but love Benedict despite his lie to Evie. Knightley did such a wonderful job creating such likeable characters all the way around. Evie’s sister Beatrice, and Richard were great characters too. The amazing thing about this story was the sexual attraction between Evie and Benedict, and you felt that chemistry throughout, without even one sex scene. It was so beautifully done, as we watch them both fall in love all over again. Did Evie find out who Benedict really was? What is the danger that is following Benedict from his past? Is there a future for the awesome couple? You need to read this book to find the answers. This was a thoroughly enjoyable read, as well as exciting ending. More Than a Stranger is a wonderful start to a new series, and a wonderful new author in Erin Knightley. Can’t wait to read A Taste for Scandal, which is the next book in this series. Barb The Reading Cafe

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