Oh my God this book was just what I needed!! I have sort of been in a contemporary romance bubble for a while, so I’ve been craving a really good historical romance novel. This one definitely delivered. I mean, it’s got everything you need for a great historical read: sullied reputations, a sexy sea-captain, and discovering pleasure in oh so many wonderful ways.
American privateer, Captain Jack isn’t really an American, but heir to a viscountcy. When his father dies, he leaves everything not entailed with the estate to his worthless cousin. Jack’s only hope of inheriting his mother’s ancestral home and honoring her dying wish is to marry and produce an heir before his thirty-fifth birthday—in five months. And he doesn’t have a single prospect.
Pregnant and unwed, Abigail Halsey is sent by her father to an Anglican convent until he can find a family to adopt his grandchild or a husband for his daughter. Abby has other plans, but they go awry when she goes into labor early and her rescuer, a pirate captain turned lord, insists on marrying her.
Is Jack too much like his jealous, unforgiving father? Can Abby overcome her fear of men and have a real marriage? Or will she never be anything more than the unwanted wife of a Slightly Noble Viscount?
I absolutely LOVED the characters in this book. Jack and Abby were two extremely complex and interesting lead characters, mainly due to their difficulty of trusting others because of their respective pasts. Abby thought she had fallen in love with a respected member of society, but it turns out he was engaged, and after repeatedly forcing himself on her Abby ends up pregnant and alone. Jack on the other hand was sent to America as a young boy with his mother because his father assumed Jack wasn’t actually his son. Gosh, it’s almost like we need a 19th century version of Jerry Springer to get some paternity tests up in here! Although, on second thought I’d probably prefer Dr. Phil. Gotta love the mustache.
Anyway, when Jack and Abby first meet they are understandably wary of each other’s intentions. Abby fears that Jack will exploit her father’s riches in order to pay for his crumbling estate, or send her and the child away to a country home as soon as they are married. In turn, when Jack first stumbles across Abby giving birth in the back of a carriage, it’s almost as if the answer to his prayers has been dropped in the middle of the road. But is she just another wanton woman hoping to climb the social ladder to wealth? After spending time with each other they both feel they can lean on one another, but also fear to do so. Love it!! They are both so dynamic, and although you want them to learn to love each other, you also understand why they are so hesitant to let their hearts lead their actions.
I’d recently taken a break from historical romances, mainly because every single one I read had the same basic plot. There’s a delicate flower of a leading lady who is usually caught in a compromising situation with a devilish rake at a ball of some kind, and because of this they are forced to marry. They usually hate each other at first, but then he shows her how to have some fun in the bedroom, so they fall in love and live happily ever after. This book had soooo much more depth than that. You always hear in historical romances about two people marrying who are basically strangers, but this book takes that notion an entire step further. They have literally never even heard of each other, and yet they marry as a matter of convenience after only a few hours of meeting. Although Abby and her child can solve all of Jack’s problems in regards to his inheritance, he still feels this undeniable urge to protect Abby, and what quickly becomes his newborn child.
I assume the title Slightly Noble has to do with Jack’s title in that although he’s a viscount he’s still a ship’s captain, or that Abby was accepted by society but still not entirely part of it. Well, I interpreted it to have another meaning entirely in that they are only slightly noble because they have some not so noble thoughts as to what they want to do with each other’s bodies. Hello sexy time! Now, we are reading a historical romance here, so you know what that means. Usually, we are dealing more with sexual tension than the deed itself. As these two start to warm up to each other, and find a mutual trust, their lust starts warming up as well. Because of Abby’s complicated past in regards to sex, Jack vows that he won’t touch her until she wants him to. Oh, I just adore when a book has this element. It’s a slightly less cringe-worthy form of begging in my opinion. There is a lot of lead up to the moment when their passion finally explodes into a physical expression of intimacy (aka they have sex), and it’s a pretty hot and heavy scene. Throughout the whole book, not only do they slowly start to become more sexually aware of each other, but they also start to fall in love, which is just adorable because neither one really expected it to happen.
I thought this book would mainly be about our two main characters slowly falling in love, and him teaching her how sex can be enjoyable. But hello major plot twist at the end! There were hints that some intrigue was happening on the sidelines, but it was pretty hidden until the very end when things take an interesting turn. Granted, this twist was kind of morbid and depressing, but it did add an element of suspense that I just wasn’t expecting. The author also did an amazing job of setting the scene for us by describing the dangers and stresses related to being an unwed mother in 19th century English society. I feel that most historical romances involve a respectable virgin female lead, or perhaps a widow, so to feature a woman who would have been a disgrace to society was a very unique feature that really set this book apart for me. And in an amazingly good way.
*An ARC was provided for an open and honest review*
Series: Not really, but sort of. There is another book called Slightly Tarnished which is more of an unrelated prequel to this book, but it deals with a friend of Jack’s and how he met his own wife. Personally, I would love to read a sequel which deals with Jack’s other friend, Quentin, and maybe how he moves on to find love after having lost his wife and child years ago.
Should you read it? Yes! It’s a really good historical romance read, and yet sort of outside the box when it comes to that genre. Very unique.
Smut Level: Not too smutty, although that’s not to say sex is absent from this book. Jack and Abby definitely desire each other, and their first love scene is pretty descriptive
Get it on Amazon: This book just came out today, February 27th, so click here to get a copy!