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The Baron Next Door

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Charity Effington learned two valuable lessons from her first betrothal: 1) When one loses the attention of an earl, one gains the attention of every gossip in London. 2) Despite the lingering scandal, she’s not prepared to marry for anything less than love. After an exhausting Season, Bath’s first annual music festival offers Charity the perfect escape. Between her newly fo Charity Effington learned two valuable lessons from her first betrothal: 1) When one loses the attention of an earl, one gains the attention of every gossip in London. 2) Despite the lingering scandal, she’s not prepared to marry for anything less than love. After an exhausting Season, Bath’s first annual music festival offers Charity the perfect escape. Between her newly formed trio and her music-loving grandmother, Charity is free to play the pianoforte to her heart’s content. That is, until their insufferably rude, though undeniably handsome, neighbor tells her to keep the “infernal racket” to a minimum. Hugh Danby, Baron Cadgwith, may think he’s put an end to the noise, but he has no idea what he’s begun. Though the waters of Bath provide relief from the suffering of his war injuries, he finds his new neighbor bothersome, vexing, and… inexplicably enchanting. Before long, Hugh suspects that even if his body heals, it’s his heart that might end up broken. 


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Charity Effington learned two valuable lessons from her first betrothal: 1) When one loses the attention of an earl, one gains the attention of every gossip in London. 2) Despite the lingering scandal, she’s not prepared to marry for anything less than love. After an exhausting Season, Bath’s first annual music festival offers Charity the perfect escape. Between her newly fo Charity Effington learned two valuable lessons from her first betrothal: 1) When one loses the attention of an earl, one gains the attention of every gossip in London. 2) Despite the lingering scandal, she’s not prepared to marry for anything less than love. After an exhausting Season, Bath’s first annual music festival offers Charity the perfect escape. Between her newly formed trio and her music-loving grandmother, Charity is free to play the pianoforte to her heart’s content. That is, until their insufferably rude, though undeniably handsome, neighbor tells her to keep the “infernal racket” to a minimum. Hugh Danby, Baron Cadgwith, may think he’s put an end to the noise, but he has no idea what he’s begun. Though the waters of Bath provide relief from the suffering of his war injuries, he finds his new neighbor bothersome, vexing, and… inexplicably enchanting. Before long, Hugh suspects that even if his body heals, it’s his heart that might end up broken. 

30 review for The Baron Next Door

  1. 5 out of 5

    Sandi *~The Pirate Wench~*

    Setting: Regency England Steam factor: Med-Hot 4 1/2 Stars Goodreads Giveaway from the Author. In this "Prelude to a Kiss series" we are introduced to a very unconventional heroine and a very wounded hero that is a perfect read for fans of that type of story. It was also sweet and sexy and not overdone to distract from the couple, and was also humorous and tender with great secondary characters that the reader can follow up their story in the next book. In this story Charity Effington visits her gra Setting: Regency England Steam factor: Med-Hot 4 1/2 Stars Goodreads Giveaway from the Author. In this "Prelude to a Kiss series" we are introduced to a very unconventional heroine and a very wounded hero that is a perfect read for fans of that type of story. It was also sweet and sexy and not overdone to distract from the couple, and was also humorous and tender with great secondary characters that the reader can follow up their story in the next book. In this story Charity Effington visits her grandmother in Bath and plans to stay awhile to escape the memories of her scandalous London season. Life seems blissful...except for their intolerable neighbor Hugh Danby Baron of Cadgwith. Happily lost in her music practicing for an upcoming audition, it is nonetheless anything but sweet music to Hugh's ears and he complains to her of her loud pianoforte playing. To Hugh a war veteran, silence is golden and that is why he has arrived in Bath to also escape. Not that her music isn't good,but her music spurs his headaches until he couldn't stand it any longer and tells her so..discretely mind you, but that just puts a "bee in Charity's bonnet" so not only does she play it louder and longer (making her late for her audition) but it sets the beginning of a different kind of war. Hugh finds Charity both irritating and adorable. And the better they come to know each other,the more they reach a common ground, and with a kiss..their fates are sealed. But Charity wont marry or settle for less than love. So Hugh has to prove he loves her..but is it enough? What a delightful "prelude" to start off a continuing series. And I would have never known about it or this author if I hadn't won a copy here at Goodreads. Which I didn't even know about as I didn't get an email or notification saying I had( we wont go there with that on going issue here) So what a lovely surprise when I went to my mailbox and found an autographed copy from the author telling me to enjoy. Well I did and thank you :) And I look forward to her next book in the "Kiss series"

  2. 4 out of 5

    Lover of Romance

    This review was originally posted on Addicted To Romance I was recently introduced to this author, and I knew that I needed to give her a chance. So I picked up the first book in this Prelude To a Kiss series. And I had pretty low expectations for this one, mostly due to the fact that lately regency settings in historical romance has seemed a bit "bleh" to me. I have had a harder time getting involved in the setting. However Erin Knightley drew me into this one. I grew to really like this sto This review was originally posted on Addicted To Romance I was recently introduced to this author, and I knew that I needed to give her a chance. So I picked up the first book in this Prelude To a Kiss series. And I had pretty low expectations for this one, mostly due to the fact that lately regency settings in historical romance has seemed a bit "bleh" to me. I have had a harder time getting involved in the setting. However Erin Knightley drew me into this one. I grew to really like this story and the beginning is what I found very compelling. The chemistry between the two main characters: was mind blogging. Now these two are a riot because there are a few misunderstands and hidden secrets. Our hero, is a war hero suffering from some brain and spine trauma. He gets intense headaches when exposed to certain sounds. Our lovely heroine, Charity is a lover of music and tends to really get into it. At first she finds Hugh to be quite annoying and boorish. But she finds an attraction to him, and at times she feels drawn to him in ways she can't explain. Even to her newest friends. The romance between these two is fresh and lighthearted. But still had some deep moments to bring balance to the story. Another plus was seeing the dynamics of the trio of friends here. Their friendship is instantaneous and engaging and it was so fun to see their interactions with each other. I am very eager for the second book. [foogallery id="19942"]

  3. 4 out of 5

    D.G.

    **2.5 stars** My favorite character in this book was the vicar. I don't object to clean adult romances (meaning, no sex) but the story and the characters have to be really compelling. The Baron Next Door wasn't terrible but it lacked depth. There was a lot missing from both characters backstories for me to really feel for them, even in the case of the hero, who had a really horrible ailment. Charity was pretty clueless. When Hugh objects to her playing, she immediately gets her panties in a bunch **2.5 stars** My favorite character in this book was the vicar. I don't object to clean adult romances (meaning, no sex) but the story and the characters have to be really compelling. The Baron Next Door wasn't terrible but it lacked depth. There was a lot missing from both characters backstories for me to really feel for them, even in the case of the hero, who had a really horrible ailment. Charity was pretty clueless. When Hugh objects to her playing, she immediately gets her panties in a bunch and proceeds to be disagreeable. She never realizes on her own that he's sick, even when she sees the clues: haggard face, circles under his eyes, and him coming out of the baths. Everything is about her, her, her. It just got tiresome after a while. Hugh's situation was very sad and I felt terrible for him. Living with chronic pain is a horrible prospect for a young vital man to face so I understood his misgivings about marrying before finding a solution. I really wished though that I would have learned more about how he had lived with that pain for 5 years, and how that affected his character or his life. I don't know that I was terribly convinced about Charity's and Hugh's romance. It just felt...contrived. There was just no spark and they didn't have anything in common so I don't know how they supposedly fell in love exactly. Even though I was surprised there wasn't sex, I was glad there wasn't because it didn't feel right. If it had happened, I think it would have felt even more contrived than the romance. Even though I didn't like this one that much, I may try the rest of the series because of the vicar. He probably won't have his own story (being a vicar and all) but he was the most original character in the book (young, funny and wise.) I really hope the author at least writes a novella with him as the hero.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Caz

    I've given this a C+ at AAR, so 3.5 stars This is the first in a new trilogy of books by Ms Knightley, in which the heroines are musicians. It’s a pleasantly light-hearted read, although I found it lacking in substance overall, and the romance is somewhat underdeveloped. Miss Charity Effington has gone to Bath to stay with her grandmother following the scandal caused by her broken engagement (which happened in A Taste for Scandal). A very talented pianist and musician, she plans to enter the ina I've given this a C+ at AAR, so 3.5 stars This is the first in a new trilogy of books by Ms Knightley, in which the heroines are musicians. It’s a pleasantly light-hearted read, although I found it lacking in substance overall, and the romance is somewhat underdeveloped. Miss Charity Effington has gone to Bath to stay with her grandmother following the scandal caused by her broken engagement (which happened in A Taste for Scandal). A very talented pianist and musician, she plans to enter the inaugural “Summer Serenade in Somerset” festival, and spends most of her time practicing for her recital. Her next door neighbour, Hugh Danby, Baron Cadgwith, is not at all enamoured either of Charity’s playing or music in general. Having suffered a serious neck and upper spinal injury in the war, he has been left with a chronic condition (compression of the spinal cord) which can see him debilitated, in great pain and confined to bed for days on end. As this is a condition which can be brought on by loud noise, listening to music is one of the things he is no longer able to do, so being forced to listen to his neighbour practicing at all hours of the day for hours on end through the thin walls is a form of torture for him. At their first meeting, Hugh is disparaging and sarcastic, making very clear his objections to Charity’s playing. Unfortunately for him, his words have the opposite effect to the one he had intended; Charity is not at all cowed by his comments about her music and instead plays even more instead of less. I can’t help but think that if he’d been reasonable enough to explain a bit and request a change to her routine rather than try to ride roughshod over her, the effect would have been more beneficial, but had he done that, this would be a much shorter book! Charity is, of course, infuriated by her neighbour’s high-handedness, but that doesn’t prevent her from noticing he’s a hottie. Subsequent encounters reveal to her that there is something lurking in the depths of Hugh’s eyes showing that perhaps he isn’t everything he seemed at their first meeting. She also notices the signs of strain and fatigue that seem ever-present in his face, and starts to wonder what may have put them there in such a young and seemingly vital gentleman. For his part, Hugh can’t help being intrigued by Charity, and the strange mixture of reticence and boldness he has seen her exhibit. He knows he shouldn’t allow himself to be charmed by her – he has long since determined that he can’t ask any woman to share the life of a broken-down invalid – but he can’t help himself. The story is thus one in which our two protagonists are presented with a seemingly insurmountable obstacle. Music is an integral part of Charity’s life, while for Hugh, it’s something he actively avoids. I appreciate the fact that Ms Knightley doesn’t trivialise Hugh’s condition by suddenly affecting a miracle cure for him. He is in Bath to ‘take the waters’, and discovers that his bathing sessions do actually help him somewhat. He ends the book still afflicted, yet with a new determination to live his life and to try to find a way to move forward. As a musician, I always like reading books in which one or more of the principals is musical, and that’s what initially drew me to this title. Charity is a composer as well as a pianist, and there are a couple of very poignant moments in the story in which she pours heart and soul into improvising a piece of music that encompasses her feelings for Hugh. The problem with stories about musicians is that it’s an art that isn’t easy to translate into words, and to my mind, there is too much rhapsodising about “tinkling notes” and “dancing fingers”. And while I can understand the author’s need to at least attempt to convey the effects and sounds of the music, sentences like: ”The shapes elongated and narrowed, rounded out and stretched thin.” and ”She allowed each note to stand, to rise from the steel strings from which it was born, and roll out like ribbons from a maypole, caught in a night wind.” are rather too much waffle for my taste. Something I found a little confusing in the book was in the naming of one of the secondary characters (who I imagine will be the hero of his own book at some point) – Lord Derington. He is introduced as such, but then someone called Dering appears and it took me a minute to realise they are the same person. I’m not sure if this is deliberate or a typographical error, but if it’s a shortening, it isn’t made clear. Overall, The Baron Next Door is a quick, and enjoyable read. Ms. Knightley’s writing is deft and flows well, with Hugh’s character being the more rounded of the two protagonists. Charity is less well-drawn, and being almost wholly defined through her music makes her seem one-dimensional. The things we discover about her – such as her dislike of confrontation – are things we’re told rather than shown, and I’m not completely convinced that she would have been quite so forthcoming in making her interest in him known to Hugh. But with those reservations in mind, if you’re looking for a light-hearted, clean romance as a pleasant way to spend a spare afternoon, this might be just the thing.

  5. 5 out of 5

    [Aengell]

    4.5 stars Finally a new HR author who reminds me why I love Historical Romances. Let me tell you, this novel is very refreshing and witty, sometimes hilariously funny, at other times quite deep and angsty. The story, about music-loving Charity and war-scarred Hugh was truly enticing from the very beginning, when during their first interactions the sparks are flying very high. And not in a passionate way... or at least not entirely, no. They just hate each other, which cannot lead to anything, co 4.5 stars Finally a new HR author who reminds me why I love Historical Romances. Let me tell you, this novel is very refreshing and witty, sometimes hilariously funny, at other times quite deep and angsty. The story, about music-loving Charity and war-scarred Hugh was truly enticing from the very beginning, when during their first interactions the sparks are flying very high. And not in a passionate way... or at least not entirely, no. They just hate each other, which cannot lead to anything, considering that they are neighbours. Hehe, but yes, the shift in their feelings comes, and my, oh my, how sweet both turn out to be! The part of the book after they overcome their initial downright hate is the best. The development of their relationship is tentative, sweet, charming, slow, but with a certain undercurrent that makes it worthwhile. I can't remember when was the last time I was so entertained by a HR where there is not something like comedy-show going on. In fact, the balance between humorous, delightful scenes that warmed my heart and angsty and sad scenes was perfect, exactly how I like it. The attraction between Charity and Hugh is there, but they don't let their physical relationship develop fast. No, they get to know each other, are still sometimes irritated by each other (especially Charity by Hugh's aloofness), but they make progress and it's so very enticing to watch! That their physical relationship was very much reduced (the first kiss happens at approximately 60%, there's not even a sex scene)didn't bother me at all. It wasn't too tame or boring because their thoughts were neither, and that helped quite a lot. Charity was sweet yet determined, and together with May and Sophie? A great trio! Hugh was the classical tortured hero who thought that he would never deserve a woman, what with his outer and inner scars and his lingering illness. And the fact that he couldn't stand hearing just a note of music and Charity being in love with it made it much more intriguing. A great read with the perfect blend of lightness and deeper aspects, very much recommended!

  6. 4 out of 5

    L.A. Miller

    I have mixed reviews regarding this book. In the beginning the author grabbed my attention with the interplay between Clarity and Hugh. She is spending a summer with her grandmother after a horrid season in London where the gossipers couldn't wait to tell the tale of her broken engagement. Hugh has come to Bath for the healing waters they are known for and a little peace and quiet. Who knew when he rented the townhouse that his neighbor was an aspiring musician who practiced every morning. Had t I have mixed reviews regarding this book. In the beginning the author grabbed my attention with the interplay between Clarity and Hugh. She is spending a summer with her grandmother after a horrid season in London where the gossipers couldn't wait to tell the tale of her broken engagement. Hugh has come to Bath for the healing waters they are known for and a little peace and quiet. Who knew when he rented the townhouse that his neighbor was an aspiring musician who practiced every morning. Had the writer stuck with this conflict and the delicious tension between the two I probably would have rated the book higher. Instead Ms. Knightley diverts with the relationship Clarity has with two fellow musician Sophie and May, who form a trio in order to audition for the music festival. I found myself skimming over these chapters in the beginning and towards the end just skipping them all together. I understand the need to introduce characters the author plans to write about in future books but I felt she was too excessive here and it took away from the love story between Hugh and Clarity. Being married to someone who suffers from Hugh's affliction, I felt Miss Knightley did an impressive job describing not only the pain but the responses from outsiders. Knowing what the future holds added to dark reclusive side of the character. As with other readers, I felt Clarity was too immature most of the time and I wanted to throttle her on more than one occasion. To me the story would have rated higher if there were less of Clarity's girlfriends and more of the interplay between Hugh and Clarity. I even think she could have developed the grandmothers role as well as that of Lord Derington and Jacobson and it would have been more interesting. Because she did not I found the book tedious at best.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Fani *loves angst*

    4.5 stars A lovely, sweet, tender, humorous, witty and emotional story of two people falling in love in an era where feeling a man's bare fingers on your forearm could give you goosebumps for a week:) If smut is not a definite preriquisite for you, this is a book definitely worth reading. 4.5 stars A lovely, sweet, tender, humorous, witty and emotional story of two people falling in love in an era where feeling a man's bare fingers on your forearm could give you goosebumps for a week:) If smut is not a definite preriquisite for you, this is a book definitely worth reading.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Eleanore June

    5 generous stars. It's probably really a 4/4.5 but I'm on vacation and super happy so I'm rounding up. So many really nice moments. I adore Hugh (Although he is my 2nd favorite - Hugh from The Sum of All Kisses is still my #1), his coming to terms with the reality of his injury was so well done. I didnt love Charity at first, but came to really respect her character by the end. It was a wonderful read. 5 generous stars. It's probably really a 4/4.5 but I'm on vacation and super happy so I'm rounding up. So many really nice moments. I adore Hugh (Although he is my 2nd favorite - Hugh from The Sum of All Kisses is still my #1), his coming to terms with the reality of his injury was so well done. I didnt love Charity at first, but came to really respect her character by the end. It was a wonderful read.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Dawn

    A wonderful story about a Baron, a girl next door, and a pianoforte. Hugh suffered from severe headaches due to a spinal injury during the war. Charity is a talented composer and player. They are in Bath for very different reasons. He wants to take advantage of the healing properties of the waters. She is participating in a music competition. His biggest pain trigger is high octaves on the musical scale. So you can see where this is going. They start out intensely disliking each other. She pract A wonderful story about a Baron, a girl next door, and a pianoforte. Hugh suffered from severe headaches due to a spinal injury during the war. Charity is a talented composer and player. They are in Bath for very different reasons. He wants to take advantage of the healing properties of the waters. She is participating in a music competition. His biggest pain trigger is high octaves on the musical scale. So you can see where this is going. They start out intensely disliking each other. She practices constantly which causes him great pain. It was interesting watching their relationship change as they get to know each other. Wonderful HEA.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Mary - Buried Under Romance

    I didn't like this book as much as I did Erin Knightley's previous series, for there is a huge amount of back-and-forth "I love you but I can't have you" talk between the characters, which basically amounted to a ton of self-pity and melodramatics in the absence of a true conflict. Really, there is nothing standing in the characters' way aside from self-pity and a host of "I don't deserve you" sentiments. I didn't like this book as much as I did Erin Knightley's previous series, for there is a huge amount of back-and-forth "I love you but I can't have you" talk between the characters, which basically amounted to a ton of self-pity and melodramatics in the absence of a true conflict. Really, there is nothing standing in the characters' way aside from self-pity and a host of "I don't deserve you" sentiments.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Marita

    Wow. Just wow. I'm going to go ahead and call this one of my favourite books, and one of the best reads, of 2014. Yes I know it's just the beginning of June, but that's how good this is! I've loved the premise and plot promised by the synopsis the entire time I've been waiting for this book to be released (which was a looooo-hoooo-ooooong wait let me tell you) and admired that lovely cover for just as long. So I genuinely couldn't wait to devour it once I'd got it. All I can say is, you know that Wow. Just wow. I'm going to go ahead and call this one of my favourite books, and one of the best reads, of 2014. Yes I know it's just the beginning of June, but that's how good this is! I've loved the premise and plot promised by the synopsis the entire time I've been waiting for this book to be released (which was a looooo-hoooo-ooooong wait let me tell you) and admired that lovely cover for just as long. So I genuinely couldn't wait to devour it once I'd got it. All I can say is, you know that feeling you get when everything you're told about a book makes you so happy you think it couldn't possibly live up to your expectations? This one did that and more! God knows I love my tortured heroes, but Hugh is so impossibly sweet that your heart breaks for him just as much as I imagine his did every time he pushes Charity away believing he isn't good enough for anyone, let alone someone as wonderful as her. He has come to Bath as a last resort, tired of his considerable injuries, and tired of the scores of unsuccessful treatments he has tried to cure them. So even though Charity's music doesn't exactly do anything pleasant for him, he can't help but be drawn to the sheer lightness of spirit in her. I imagine it must be like taking your first few sips of water after walking through a desert for days. Charity is easily one of my favourite HR heroines ever. Not only is she incredibly musically gifted, she's unashamedly and passionately in love with her music. Even though she's naturally reserved and doesn't always love being in the spotlight, where her music is concerned, all she wants is to spread the same joy she gets when she creates it. So it's intrinsically troubling to her that she finds Hugh so appealing, when he so clearly seems to despise her music. As is the case with most gruff, rude H's, there's a lot more beneath that gruff exterior though. With utmost reluctance, if not outright unwillingness, Hugh finds himself spilling his darkest fears and deepest hurts to Charity. She in turn can only think of how she can help him, even if he is so reluctant to receive it. And his reluctance to let their connection get any deeper won't stop her from putting herself out there and boldly going after what she wants, especially after she freed her first fiance to go after who he wanted. I even love how steamy the book is without having a single sex scene. It's the kind of book that makes you long for a time when holding someone's hand for too long was as thrilling as it was potentially scandalous. Charity and Hugh manage to put so much feeling in a gaze or a kiss that you feel like you're intruding. The eventual resolution and HEA and epilogue are everything you could possibly wish for everyone involved, and the love, respect and consideration the H/h show each other just put the biggest smile on my face :) I've probably been way too spoilery already so I'll leave it at that. Apart from the H/h there was so much else to love in this book. I loved the music, and all the different instruments. I actually even looked up guzhengs, and guzheng-piano and piano-oboe duets on youtube to try to understand how they might complement each other (even youtube couldn't offer a guzheng-piano-oboe trio however :D). I loved the friendship that sprung up between the three girls-any genuine sisterhood in an HR series is irresistible to me. I love how irrepressible Sophie is-except when she gets adorably tongue-tied around her longtime crush-and, having read the excerpt for the next book, I can't wait to see her take her HEA into her own hands! I love May, and how worldly and unconcerned with propriety she is-having lived in several different countries myself growing up, I can certainly relate to her homesickness and awareness of the important things in life. I can totally see her taking an arrogant duke down a peg or two, and even though I'll have to wait more than a year probably, I can't wait for her book either! I hope that the series deals with other characters too-Dering seems like an interesting character, as does Hugh's vicar brother-in-law. And not that Felicity needs to marry again or anything, but I'd love to revisit her and her daughter :) Very, very minor quibble that in no way hindered my enjoyment of the book but did briefly pull me out of my book trance-some minor Americanisms filtered in a couple of times, and the terms "culture shock" and "pep talk" in particular instantly pulled me out of the book to check their etymology. Both only sprung up mid-20th Century so it would certainly have been anachronistic to use them. It wasn't a major issue, by any stretch of the imagination, but I hope that sort of thing is better edited in future. All in all, this book fulfilled every single one of my expectations and more, so I genuinely couldn't recommend it enough. I already know I'll be re-reading this multiple times, so I ordered a paperback from Barnes & Noble US to circumvent the September paperback release in the UK, just because I can foresee curling up with this book for comfort for years to come, and having to access it on my laptop or e-readers every time, might prove inconvenient :D I really hope there'll be an audiobook for this too, because I'm already anticipating just closing my eyes, lying back and listening to this book for hours.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Sue

    Both a plot and a leading couple that are too tame

  13. 4 out of 5

    Tin

    A kiss, a simple kiss becomes the ultimate expression of everything her hero and heroine feel -- and Erin Knightley does it so eloquently. She is one of the very few authors who can turn a simple kiss into the most electrifying, most explosive, most exciting, and most emotional moment in a romance novel. The kiss becomes more meaningful considering it is being shared by a grouchy baron and a gifted pianist. On the outside, he looks fine, but, Hugh Danby suffers from debilitating headaches from t A kiss, a simple kiss becomes the ultimate expression of everything her hero and heroine feel -- and Erin Knightley does it so eloquently. She is one of the very few authors who can turn a simple kiss into the most electrifying, most explosive, most exciting, and most emotional moment in a romance novel. The kiss becomes more meaningful considering it is being shared by a grouchy baron and a gifted pianist. On the outside, he looks fine, but, Hugh Danby suffers from debilitating headaches from the injuries he sustained as a soldier. There are triggers for these attacks and, unfortunately, music is one of those triggers. Hugh has rented a house in Bath at his sister-in-law's suggestion, hoping the quiet and the waters could help his condition. He discovers that the waters are helping, but Hugh also discovers (too late) that there is no quiet to be had in Bath, having arrived at the height of Bath's first music festival. And then discovering further that his neighbor is one of the musicians aspiring to be part of the event. Can you hate the music but not the musician? Hugh has a hard time behaving well around Charity, seeing her as the cause of his suffering, but he also can't help but enjoy Charity's cleverness and spirit. Charity was the "jilted" party in A Taste for Scandal and she actually came to Bath to escape the gossip about her. Neither our hero nor our heroine is looking for a romantic attachment at the moment: he's there to be alone and her only goal in Bath was to participate in the music festival, but, the stars and the universe all conspire, and our hero and heroine both have to deal with unexpected feelings for each other. The music festival is a big part of the story and it's amazing how accurately Knighhtley depicts small-town politics: Charity and her group aren't allowed to play because May plays a guzheng, a Chinese instrument. The author highlights how different-ness isn't accepted and how conformity is valued, but Knightley also uses this as an opportunity to form a bond between the three ladies -- I hope to read more of May and Sophie. "Oh, my word, Charity said, wiping tears from the corners of her eyes. "You two shall be the death of me, I can already tell." After the odd dinner last night, it felt wonderful to laugh with people she actually liked. May patted her arms. "No, darling -- we shall be the life of you. Anyone who blushes as easily as you has not had nearly enough adventure in her life." - Chapter 5 The Baron Next Door also chronicles Hugh's journey of accepting his new self. It's never explicitly stated but Hugh seems to think himself as less of a man (and unworthy of living and loving) because of his injury. He has hidden from the world, and had not really taken his place in society as Baron Cadgwith. He gave himself a mental shake. Christ, he didn't used to be like this. It was hard to remember when he had readily laughed and flirted with young women, but it had happened. Back when he was young and naive, and was whole in body and spirit. With the dull pounding in his head blossoming to sharp jabs, he lifted his goblet to his lips and drained the rest of his wine. - Chapter 4 Part of my reflection after reading this novel was the idea of "the right partner" -- Charity had a wonderful match with Richard ( A Taste for Scandal ), but it wasn't right for either one and Richard ended up marrying someone else. Dering (the Earl of Derington) loves music and is an old friend of Charity and her family -- he would also have made a great match for Charity. Of the men in Charity's life, Hugh posed the greatest challenge: imagine a life with a man who cannot ever be part of the one thing that defines your life. But love is never about the easiest or the most straightforward route -- and Hugh and Charity will come to realise this in their story. The Baron Next Door was a truly pleasurable novel to read. I loved the banter between the hero and heroine: so much annoyance and so much attraction. What I like about how Knightley develops her characters' love story is how she really mixes up elements and personalities, and waits for the chemical reaction that results from it. When the moment is right, when the combination has reached the right temperature ... fireworks. "God, Charity," he rasped, hugging her to him before pulling away. His eyes roamed over her face before meeting her gaze. He shook his head. "What you do to me." Good. She liked knowing he was every bit as affected by her as she was by him. "If it's anything like what you do to me, I think we may be in trouble," she said ... - Chapter 24

  14. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie

    Original Post 7/14: http://fangswandsandfairydust.com/201... Book provided by publisher for review. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinion presented herein is my own except as noted. This story really goes for edgy with outlandish plot devices, like a blonde-haired, blue-eyed half Chinese woman (I think, although I guess she might just have grown up totally in the environment), a beautiful musical savant, and an inexplicable attraction of the two main characters that just didn’t gel for me. Original Post 7/14: http://fangswandsandfairydust.com/201... Book provided by publisher for review. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinion presented herein is my own except as noted. This story really goes for edgy with outlandish plot devices, like a blonde-haired, blue-eyed half Chinese woman (I think, although I guess she might just have grown up totally in the environment), a beautiful musical savant, and an inexplicable attraction of the two main characters that just didn’t gel for me. I feel the character who is heavily influenced by Chinese roots is half Chinese because her name is Meili and she refers to the English as separate from herself. The character’s inclusion is a way pf justifying the use of Chinese medicine. But it feels rather contrived. I thought the interactions between friends were sometimes natural, but usually didn’t offer time of depth for real feeling to develop. I also had an issue with a historical bobble. It is set firmly in 1821 to 1822 – five years after the Battle of Waterloo when Hugh, Baron Cadgewith, is injured. Allergies are mentioned a doctor explaining a sudden allergy as having caused a death. But the word “allergy” was first coined in 1906 and the medical concept was not put forth until then. Before that time, people recognized that some foods caused illness in one person, but the concept of it being an immune response simply had not developed at that time. It really was a single sentence, but I really get my head stuck on something like that. And, I was reading a galley so there is a slight chance it was edited out and the person’s death is otherwise explained. I think the writer is using it in a general, rather than a specific way. I do think it is sad to see, and it has been shown in other books, how there was little done for veterans after initial recuperation at the time. He is injured, and thinks himself less of a man for his debility and because many of his men died in battle. Of course, a lot of men died in that battle, so it is plain that his logic is somewhat flawed. I imagine there wasn’t much in the way of “veteran admininstration” at the time. I did like the portrayal of life in Bath at rented townhouses, with dinners and parties. It seems so different than how we entertain and are entertained today. And, I enjoyed the relationship between Charity and her Grandmother, who is wise and almost seems like a fairy godmother. It’s pretty clean, with butterflies in the belly, but the most scandalous things that happen are kisses and Charity putting wet cloths on his head when he is ill. There are some interesting twists and turns and dutiful daughter decisions must be made. In short it is somewhat light book; I didn’t really connect with the characters and didn’t believe their attraction. Other characters were too contrived. But it was an easy read and pretty “clean.”

  15. 5 out of 5

    Aspoon

    In order to maintain the respect I have for this author, I have no choice but to stop reading her future books and make this my last review in regards to her work. My favorite book by this author is “A Taste Of Scandal” which is the book that Charity initially appears. I was truly hoping that “The Baron Next Door” would have some of the same emotional heart tugging moments that A.T.O.S. had. I was hoping that I would be able to not only connect with the characters but to remember their love story In order to maintain the respect I have for this author, I have no choice but to stop reading her future books and make this my last review in regards to her work. My favorite book by this author is “A Taste Of Scandal” which is the book that Charity initially appears. I was truly hoping that “The Baron Next Door” would have some of the same emotional heart tugging moments that A.T.O.S. had. I was hoping that I would be able to not only connect with the characters but to remember their love story forever as I did Lord Raleigh and Jane (A.T.O.S.) Now with that being said here is my last and honest review of “The Baron Next Door”… • In “A Taste Of Scandal” I thought Charity was a little young minded…too young minded for Richard (Lord Raleigh) so when I heard about Charity’s story, I was hoping she would have matured and become more of a woman. I see regrettably that she is indeed still young minded. I wish the author could have made her more mature…not too feisty and head strong like some heroines, but not so childish that I feel like I’m reading a book for adolescents. The hero and heroine might as well have been in high school… • There was way too much girly chatting between Charity and her friends…IMO it took away from the bonding and romance with the hero…especially in the beginning. And it annoyed me to no end that Charity has the habit of CONSTANTLY asking herself questions…it’s like STOP ASKING YOURSELF and ASK HIM DIRECTLY…sheesh half the time the hero was standing right in front of her…so just ask him…it seemed like she had more conversation with herself then with the hero…so annoying and then the hero started with the self-questions…It was driving me MAAAAAD. • I thought the hero Hugh was very funny. I loved when he gets annoyed with Charity…or any other person for that matter. I know the author made the hero have physical wounds due to the war and I felt for the hero. I kind of wish he had his own story with another leading lady honestly. He wasn’t the best hero I’ve read about, but he had some good qualities for this kind of writing and I enjoyed every moment he was featured in this book. • Depending upon your personal taste in romance novels, IMO it seems to me that the author is losing her touch on romance…meaning that in the book “A Taste Of Scandal” there was so much pure, natural, heartwarming, chemistry and believable romance between the hero and heroine. Unfortunately, no other books from this author that came after A.T.O.S. hasn’t matched up to that. I want to root for the characters, fall in love with them while watching them fall in love with each other. I can only HOPE that if the author continues with this series, that she can go back and see what worked for A.T.O.S and back that kind of writing. She is currently working on Sophia’s story to debut in 2015….I wish her luck.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews

    Autry‘s review posted on Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews 4 STARS Review copy provided for an honest review Charity Effington is visiting her grandmother for the season, while her mother is away on family matters, and her father is busy with business. Charity has always loved playing music and is trying to find her way back into the graces of society through her musical talents. Erin Knightleys’ character, Charity will meet new friends, hash out old problems while deciphering the Baron next door. Hugh Autry‘s review posted on Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews 4 STARS Review copy provided for an honest review Charity Effington is visiting her grandmother for the season, while her mother is away on family matters, and her father is busy with business. Charity has always loved playing music and is trying to find her way back into the graces of society through her musical talents. Erin Knightleys’ character, Charity will meet new friends, hash out old problems while deciphering the Baron next door. Hugh Danby finds himself drawn to the Baths, seeking relief from his war injuries. Unfortunately the Baron Cadgwith has found the neighbor who practices her musical abilities daily, which only push him to the brink of sanity. Cadgwith was not expecting to be given the Baron title so quickly, or to be pushed into the Society functions; however, this is exactly what he finds himself doing. Charity and Hugh find themselves at impasses almost immediately, her “racket” is worsening his injuries from war and he demands her to stop. Challenge seeking Charity is more determined to play and loudly to annoy her new neighbor, she practicing daily in hopes of securing a spot on the spring society recital. After her brief encounter with the baron next door, her curiosity is peaked, driving her to find out more about Hugh Danby. Secret midnight meetings slowly reveal the truth to the barons’ injuries and her past relationship, leaving each individual wanting to know more about the other. As the relationship blooms between others, Danby is feeling as if he should gracefully remove himself so others may pursue Charity. Wise words spoken from Charitys’ grandmother cause Hugh to reconsider and fight for what he wants, but a surprise visit from Charitys’ father may ruin everything?

  17. 4 out of 5

    Andrea

    This is difficult to rate for me. I absolutely LOVED the beginning and the first chapter was one of the funniest beginnings I have ever read. Hugh's grumpiness and sarcasm were adorable, and I loved him from the very first sentence. I loved it when Charity and Hugh decided "This means war", and their initial encounters were hilarious. But their relationship never really convinced me, mostly because it took them forever to get over their own stupidity. There were times when Charity got on my last This is difficult to rate for me. I absolutely LOVED the beginning and the first chapter was one of the funniest beginnings I have ever read. Hugh's grumpiness and sarcasm were adorable, and I loved him from the very first sentence. I loved it when Charity and Hugh decided "This means war", and their initial encounters were hilarious. But their relationship never really convinced me, mostly because it took them forever to get over their own stupidity. There were times when Charity got on my last nerve with her tendency to jump to conclusions and to overreact, and Hugh's continued self-loathing about not being good enough for her also went on for to long for me to enjoy their story. But I loved that both were different from standard historical romance clichés: Charity's deep love for music made her incredibly interesting to read about, and I loved that Hugh was not your typical scarred war hero who was beating himself up over having lost some of his men in the war or something equally ever-present. His struggle about looking perfectly fine on the outside but suffering from debilitating headaches made for a nice change, and I loved that. On the plus side, I absolutely loved the descriptions of music. Their were beautiful passages where Charity was composing a song for Hugh that impressed me and made up for the lack of obvious chemistry, because this is were Charity's feelings shine through more clearly than in her interactions with him. I also absolutely loved May and Sophie, Charity's new friends. Their friendship didn't just feel like a convenient set-up for the next books in the series, but instead you get three girls who support each other and accept each other the way they are, and I am really looking forward to their stories.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Annie

    Erin Knightley kicks off a brand new series called Prelude to a Kiss with THE BARON NEXT DOOR. Much like Knightley’s other books, readers can expect the same quirky and upbeat dialogue found in her characters as Charity and Hugh irritate one another as much as they can. Charity has had a difficult time this Season. However, she finds a welcome distraction in the Bath’s first annual music festival. As a skilled pianoforte player and music maniac, Charity cannot be more excited for this. Yet her Erin Knightley kicks off a brand new series called Prelude to a Kiss with THE BARON NEXT DOOR. Much like Knightley’s other books, readers can expect the same quirky and upbeat dialogue found in her characters as Charity and Hugh irritate one another as much as they can. Charity has had a difficult time this Season. However, she finds a welcome distraction in the Bath’s first annual music festival. As a skilled pianoforte player and music maniac, Charity cannot be more excited for this. Yet her next door neighbour, the Baron Cadgwith wishes for nothing more than to stop her racket as he tries to relax. But there is something he finds intriguing about Charity and this spurs a sweet romance that readers will enjoy. More on the sweet than sexy side, Knightley really displays her talent as a writer as she weaves what starts off as an unlikely romance into a solid story. That being said, the sexy times are downplayed a little bit, but that didn’t bother me very much because I think Knightley brings other things to the story in its place. With its emphasis on music, Charity showcases her passion and it creates for a much more likeable and relatable character. Hugh starts off as a gruff, mean bastard, but then Charity coaxes a softer side of him that I think readers will find endearing. THE BARON NEXT DOOR is a pitch-perfect blend of comedy and sweetness. *ARC provided by publisher

  19. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    "This song wasn't just for him, as she originally thought. It comforted her in a way she hadn't expected. Somehow she knew, with absolute assurance, that this music wouldn't hurt him. She could feel it in the calmness of his presence, and in the beauty of the notes themselves. It offered peace. She offered peace." 3.5 stars! I don't think I'll ever get tired of Erin Knightley's charming prose. She's created another treasure with The Baron Next Door. After previously being introduced to Charity "This song wasn't just for him, as she originally thought. It comforted her in a way she hadn't expected. Somehow she knew, with absolute assurance, that this music wouldn't hurt him. She could feel it in the calmness of his presence, and in the beauty of the notes themselves. It offered peace. She offered peace." 3.5 stars! I don't think I'll ever get tired of Erin Knightley's charming prose. She's created another treasure with The Baron Next Door. After previously being introduced to Charity in A Taste for Scandal (still my hands down favorite book from Erin so far), I was so excited to read her story. Charity was shy and self conscious but beneath that insecurity was an even stronger inner fire. The fact that she's a ginger was very fitting. Similarly, Hugh was not all he seemed to be at first glance. These two ended up being quite the formidable pair. After initially clashing, Charity and Hugh manage to form a tentative friendship, that later blossoms into something more, which in turn gives them each strength and confidence neither thought was possible. It was lovely watching them come out of their shells and have to courage to go after what, whom, they wanted. By far my favorite aspect of the book was the friendship between the three unconventional women: Charity, Sophie and May. Charity's relationship with her wise sage of a grandmother was another wonderful addition. Oh! And Hugh and Charity's midnight balcony rendezvouses were EVERYTHING.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Lorka

    I am so sad, I really, really thought I was going to love this book! Grumpy damaged Baron, irritated at the girl next door and then they fall in love, etc. Well, by the time I got to about page 80, the hero and heroine had only spoken to each other 2, maybe 3, times very briefly. The other 95% was of the heroine talking about music and music instruments with her two new girlfriends. They went on and on about music. Out of frustration, I jumped onto Goodreads to see if I was crazy and there are o I am so sad, I really, really thought I was going to love this book! Grumpy damaged Baron, irritated at the girl next door and then they fall in love, etc. Well, by the time I got to about page 80, the hero and heroine had only spoken to each other 2, maybe 3, times very briefly. The other 95% was of the heroine talking about music and music instruments with her two new girlfriends. They went on and on about music. Out of frustration, I jumped onto Goodreads to see if I was crazy and there are others that disliked this book for the same reason. And warning, this author writes very non-steamy books. I think you are lucky if the characters get one smooch in and that's it. (just in case it matters to you).

  21. 5 out of 5

    Rema

    Not exactly what I'd hoped for. The romance is off kilter and the characters are quite dull. Only a hundred or so pages into the book, the entire story seemed to drag. It was tedious and often boring. Charity often contradicts her personality, like sneaking off to a closed room with a stranger knowing how compromising the situation was. It seemed quite unlike her, it was astonishing. Hugh mopes around through most of the book, thinking himself less of a man because of his injuries. It creates a Not exactly what I'd hoped for. The romance is off kilter and the characters are quite dull. Only a hundred or so pages into the book, the entire story seemed to drag. It was tedious and often boring. Charity often contradicts her personality, like sneaking off to a closed room with a stranger knowing how compromising the situation was. It seemed quite unlike her, it was astonishing. Hugh mopes around through most of the book, thinking himself less of a man because of his injuries. It creates a very depressing and aggravating atmosphere that does no credit to the novel. I was hoping for some wit and adventure, like in Ruined by a Rake. Playful banter and a powerful romance. But that was sadly not found in The Baron Next Door.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Karen ♐

    This book is very different from the usual historical. Hugh rents a townhome next door to Charity. What ensues is a romance building beautifully. Charity plays the piano beautifully and music is a big part of this story. Hugh complains about her playing right from the beginning of the book. Like us, Charity doesn't understand why he is so opposed to her playing. Of course, everything is revealed. Many twists and turns in this story. Loved it. Rounded up from 4.5 stars to 5. It does start a bit s This book is very different from the usual historical. Hugh rents a townhome next door to Charity. What ensues is a romance building beautifully. Charity plays the piano beautifully and music is a big part of this story. Hugh complains about her playing right from the beginning of the book. Like us, Charity doesn't understand why he is so opposed to her playing. Of course, everything is revealed. Many twists and turns in this story. Loved it. Rounded up from 4.5 stars to 5. It does start a bit slow. I definitely will be reading on in this series.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Kathy

    She is passionate about music. He has a head injury made worse by hearing music. They find a work-around at the end, of course, but they spend way too much of the book being really annoyed at each other for me to really believe that such a match would have long-term success after the lust calms down.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Starbubbles

    I loved this book! They were both witty, funny, and a touch ornery. Okay, they were more than a touch. There was music minus the a lot of dancing, drama, a war veteran, just good all around. I can't wait to read others from Knightley! I loved this book! They were both witty, funny, and a touch ornery. Okay, they were more than a touch. There was music minus the a lot of dancing, drama, a war veteran, just good all around. I can't wait to read others from Knightley!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Shannon The Romance Addict!

    Cute Love story about over coming the odds. Loved it!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Shayr

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I initially picked this book because of the cover (yellow with a silhouette of a woman at a pianoforte). I didnt know anything about the plot or the author. I just wanted a light read. I can safely say it was exactly that, taking me less than a day to finish. And although it was a page turner for me, this was more down to me wanting to know how everything ends.. And to just get to the end. As a few other people have commented, i found the relationship development between the two main characters fo I initially picked this book because of the cover (yellow with a silhouette of a woman at a pianoforte). I didnt know anything about the plot or the author. I just wanted a light read. I can safely say it was exactly that, taking me less than a day to finish. And although it was a page turner for me, this was more down to me wanting to know how everything ends.. And to just get to the end. As a few other people have commented, i found the relationship development between the two main characters forced and clichéd. The words 'its not you, its me' were used at one point. We dont really get to know the characters well enough to sympathise and cheer them on. Charity did get annoying although I really did like Hugh's story and how it was written. Some of plot points were underdeveloped and there were a few times I had to read and m reread some of the dialogue, not understanding why the conversation flowed the way it did - it just felt forced, as though the author had a list of things they wanted to include in the book and ticked them off as they went, not paying much attention to whether the item 'fit'. I would have preferred less of the music rehearsals (i liked her friends, but constantly reading about how Charity felt sitting at her pianoforte was tedious) and more on Charity (when she isn't thinking about music) and more pages dedicated the romance. I almost feel bad about this next point but it felt as though that the author decided to throw everything they knew about the period into a book. Some of what the characters said or did felt like regency caricatures, and some felt... Americanised? I found the characters' obsession with 'the Season' irritating, how the gentlemen (the ones we are meant to like) spoke about and laughed at women when alone really quite unbelievable, especially when it involved the main character. Like, what? And what is this obsession with sweat on the characters lower back and the use of the word 'townhouse?' Some positives are that you get a HEA, Hugh's story was dealt with sensitivity and it was a unique backstory for a young, handsome main character. I liked Charity's friendships and her relationship with her grandmother. I love Bath so it was nice reading about it from the character's POVs. I liked some of Hugh and Charity's intimate moments, which were not all physical. The ending was nice, although it would have been nicer had I felt that I had known the characters and their relationship better.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

    'The Baron Next Door' was the third Erin Knightley novel that I've read, and unfortunately I've had the same complaint about all of the books; Lovely read, but too nice. Yes, everyone likes vanilla ice cream, but sometimes there needs to be a lump of cookie dough or a swirl of raspberry to liven it up. 'The Baron Next Door' had all the elements of a regency romance novel but no spark, no flair, nothing that made it distinctive. It was a nice regency romance, but nothing more. Compare this to one 'The Baron Next Door' was the third Erin Knightley novel that I've read, and unfortunately I've had the same complaint about all of the books; Lovely read, but too nice. Yes, everyone likes vanilla ice cream, but sometimes there needs to be a lump of cookie dough or a swirl of raspberry to liven it up. 'The Baron Next Door' had all the elements of a regency romance novel but no spark, no flair, nothing that made it distinctive. It was a nice regency romance, but nothing more. Compare this to one of, say, Julia Quinn's novels which sparkle and live and even years after reading them, you still thinking about the characters and their stories… Hugh was a good hero. I liked Hugh. He was troubled but I think he was genuinely trying his best from about halfway through the novel. His character had developed and progressed. Though I may be biased because I like the heroes who are a Mr. Grumpy-gills. Charity on the other hand was an empty headed fool. How many monologues did we read where she noted that he looked tense, or had purple marks beneath his eyes or looked tired. Yet never once did she even suspect that something was amiss. I also felt that Charity had no personality at all. May was the blunt, straight-talking one, Sophie the lovable chatterbox. Charity was blah. She was meh. She wasn't witty or blunt or rude or caring or overly intelligent etc. Charity loved music and beyond of that, she was lifeless. The romance between Hugh and Charity was nowhere near developed enough. They went from hating each other to loving each other after one glance across a room. There was no steam, no crackle, no ignition. Their meetings were repetitive and their arguments the same. It all came down to the fact that neither would just up and say that they liked the other. I feel that if less page time had been given to May and Sophie, and the set up for their novels, and more time given to developing Hugh and Charity's romance, I might have upped to a 3*. The focus of the novel was supposed to be Hugh and Charity's relationship but I felt that the focus wavered too often. Charity wasn't vibrant enough to capture my attention and so I've rated as the novel being 'okay'.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Sophia

    I love music particularly the opportunity to sit down at the piano and play so I was delighted by the idea of a heroine who loves music like breathing and has the ability to translate her feelings and experiences into music. Then there was the broody hero injured in war and still suffering. Unfortunately, I have something in common with him too in that I occasional suffer from debilitating migraines though his came as a result of a war injury. With those unique features, I was curious to see whe I love music particularly the opportunity to sit down at the piano and play so I was delighted by the idea of a heroine who loves music like breathing and has the ability to translate her feelings and experiences into music. Then there was the broody hero injured in war and still suffering. Unfortunately, I have something in common with him too in that I occasional suffer from debilitating migraines though his came as a result of a war injury. With those unique features, I was curious to see where the story would take it. There was some humor for sure, some pain and a whole lot of misunderstanding to work through. I have mixed feelings about the book after I read it though mostly I enjoyed reading the story. I hadn't read this author and this was the start of a new series, though the story is loosely connected to a previously written book in another series. The other book doesn't need to be read first to appreciate this one, but the hints at the previous story do have me interested so I'll probably go back and read it. The story opens with Charity Effington and her grandmother arriving in Bath for a little holiday away from the family. Charity had the disappointment of a broken engagement to a man who fell in love with someone else so she released him and then faced the speculation of London society as a result. Now she focuses on the plan to join her friend Sophia in getting selected to play their music at the Bath annual music festival. She practices hard as she readies for the selection committee. That is until she is interrupted by the rude and insufferable neighbor next door who demands she quit with the noise. This raises her ire and also the volume on her practice playing. She gets so caught up in her vengeful pounding on the keys that she makes her and her friend late to sign up. They are denied until another young woman who agrees to form a musical trio so they can share her slot. Hugh Danby barely survived the war and took a long road to recovery, but after the torn muscles, skin and bones heal, he is still left with the horrendous megrims that make him suffer. He is a private man and doesn't wish others to know his sufferings or the dark state they put him in so he stays a recluse on his estate. His brother has died leaving his widow and child, but also leaving Hugh the title and responsibility. His sister in law is his friend and insisted he go to try the waters at Bath that are known for their healing qualities. She has even arranged for several acquaintances in town so that he is forced to socialize. For Felicity, he will try, but things aren't looking good when the neighbor next door takes up on her instrument every day with the music a trigger for his megrims. He knows he handled his request to stop badly when he was suffering the effects of his last headache, but the little fiery redhead gave as good as she got. And each new encounter makes her stiffen up like a bantam rooster. He can't even figure out why she's mad at him half the time after he calls a truce and apologizes. For the first time, he is enjoying life and Charity is the reason. They are friends in a way, but he can never let it go beyond that even after sharing a kiss. Charity's head is in a whirl what with getting ready for the music festival with her friends Sophia and May and with the odd starts and emotions that Hugh elicits in her. Their relationship is at a standstill because she can't give up her music and he can't be near it without falling dreadfully ill. He even does his best to steer her away from him and into the arms of another suitor delivering a final, painful blow to her heart in the process. Alrighty, this one had a pretty straight forward plot as Charity and her friends work on their musical presentation to be chosen for the festival and as Charity and Hugh try to sort out their issues in an enemies to lovers style romance. It is narrated third person from both Hugh and Charity's perspectives. Pacing was good as was the historical setting including the musical talents of the three friends and the friendship itself. The scenes with the three young women were fun and sparkled. They were probably my favorite part of the story. I liked the unique situation of the hero, Hugh Danby. He's handsome and he's a war hero, but he doesn't see himself that way. He grieves for his brother and cares about his sister in law and the estate, but feels so inadequate. Mostly this is because of the affect the recurring migraines have on him. He struggled with it privately because most people saw no visible injuries left to heal and don't understand. Getting it shrugged off as a minor complaint (been there, trust me migraines are nothing like a headache) and the pain affected his temperament and caused depression. He is a broody, snarky person as a result who sees himself as less of a man and undeserving of a woman's love now. I enjoyed seeing the change in him as the story progressed. He gets a bit of stubborn-stupid going when he pushes Charity away because he thinks she can do better, but I couldn't fault him for it much since it comes on the heels of him doing something really sweet for her and it triggers his headache. Poor guy, though he would boot me for expressing pity. Now Charity, she's a so-so like for me. I liked her for her part in the musical trio and with her friends, but I struggled to like her as a romance interest. Mostly it was her Jekyll/Hyde routine. She's this shy, blushing creature who is less vocal when around her family or her friends. She can bite her tongue when a jerk at the festival insults her or when another spiteful cat of a girl says some really cruel stuff, but the guy who tells her to keep it down because her pianoforte is against the wall of his bedroom? Oh no, she unloads on him and then proceeds to spend most of the book misinterpreting every word and action from him while letting him have a taste of her tongue and anger. I'm all for a fiery, spirited type and a few misunderstandings can make a story interesting, but her behavior was just childish. You know, like 'the kid who picks on the other kid because they have a crush on them and its the only way they can think to get their attention' sort of childish. It was really hard to see her as a romance heroine and get into the romance as a result. I enjoyed the inclusion of many of the colorful secondary characters including Hugh's valet and Charity's grandmother. And the friends, Sophia and May have me keen to get their stories. In the end, I enjoyed the author's writing and the overall storyline of the new series even if this particular heroine didn't exactly wow me. I look forward to the next installment of the series. I would recommend it for those who enjoy their historicals on the light side and their romances mostly sweet. My thanks to Penguin Group for the opportunity to read this story in exchange for an honest review.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Elley Murray

    I must be on a damaged hero kick... This is the first book in a series, about Charity and her two friends with whom she plays in a trio for a music program. I assume the next two books are about the two friends. Charity also seems to be a side character from another book/series so there are some possible spoilers if you haven't read that book with some of her backstory. According to the author, people so loved Charity that they wanted to know what happened to her after the other book, and so thi I must be on a damaged hero kick... This is the first book in a series, about Charity and her two friends with whom she plays in a trio for a music program. I assume the next two books are about the two friends. Charity also seems to be a side character from another book/series so there are some possible spoilers if you haven't read that book with some of her backstory. According to the author, people so loved Charity that they wanted to know what happened to her after the other book, and so this series was born. I've never read anything else by Erin Knightley, but I think I'll need to go track down some of her other books now. Hugh Danby, Baron Cadgwith - Charity's next door neighbor for the summer - suffers from debilitating pain resulting from wounds sustained in the war. Charity lives for her music, which happens to trigger a whole nightmare of pain for Hugh. You can probably see where the hate in this love-hate relationship comes from... I love how you get to see such great character growth from both leads through this book. I also really appreciate that (view spoiler)[Hugh continues to suffer from his episodes, and they find a way to make their relationship work in the face of this very real problem. There is no magical fairy-tale ending where her music heals him, or some nonsense like that. Hugh continues to suffer from his wounds for the rest of his life, though he does get somewhat better and they're able to find ways to help make them less intense and more manageable. It's a realistic outcome instead of a perfect one, and it makes the entire story all the more special because of it. (hide spoiler)]

  30. 4 out of 5

    Nessa

    CLEAN ROMANCE. SOLID 3.5 STARS! THIS PICKED UP A BIT SLOW BUT I DIDNT MIND BECAUSE WE GET TO SEE THE H/h BEING JUST DOWNRIGHT ANNOYED WITH EACH OTHER. IT WASN'T PASSIONATE IN THE LITERAL SENSE, BUT IT DID HELD AN AMOUNT OF EMOTION. HERO is a young war veteran who suffers from terrible megrims and other physical or bodily pain that he believes himself to be a broken man. When he drops by Bath for a healing stay (contrary to what he keeps denying), he is assaulted by his neighbour's infernal racket CLEAN ROMANCE. SOLID 3.5 STARS! THIS PICKED UP A BIT SLOW BUT I DIDNT MIND BECAUSE WE GET TO SEE THE H/h BEING JUST DOWNRIGHT ANNOYED WITH EACH OTHER. IT WASN'T PASSIONATE IN THE LITERAL SENSE, BUT IT DID HELD AN AMOUNT OF EMOTION. HERO is a young war veteran who suffers from terrible megrims and other physical or bodily pain that he believes himself to be a broken man. When he drops by Bath for a healing stay (contrary to what he keeps denying), he is assaulted by his neighbour's infernal racket in the form of the pianoforte. Hugh doesn't mean to be a jerk but because of his pains it turns him into a bear and he doesn't think twice to snap at our heroine. Hugh's character only reveals itself throughout the story so it doesn't bore you and there are moments where he's just sweet and gentlemanly. HEROINE may be young but she's passionate about music and life. After a broken betrothal she retreats to Bath in hopes to pursue her musical talent. One day her neighbour comes calling only to insult her playing and she declares war upon him. I looked forward to their meetings because you never know what to expect. Sure they started off as "enemies" but soon engaged in clandestine meetings by the balcony where they are more honest and unguarded, allowing feelings to creep in. OVERALL while the story wasn't a whirlwind romance or passionate, it had its soft moments and it was really more focused on love between two strangers who just sought for a haven in Bath.

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