Read Something Fabulous

Read Something Fabulous by Alexis Hall

Valentine Layton, the Duke of Malvern, has twin problems: literally.

It was always his father’s hope that Valentine would marry Miss Arabella Tarleton. But, unfortunately, too many novels at an impressionable age have caused her to grow up…romantic. So romantic that a marriage of convenience will not do and after Valentine’s proposal she flees into the night determined never to set eyes on him again.

Arabella’s twin brother, Mr. Bonaventure “Bonny” Tarleton, has also grown up…romantic. And fully expects Valentine to ride out after Arabella and prove to her that he’s not the cold-hearted cad he seems to be.

Despite copious misgivings, Valentine finds himself on a pell-mell chase to Dover with Bonny by his side. Bonny is unreasonable, overdramatic, annoying, and…beautiful? And being with him makes Valentine question everything he thought he knew. About himself. About love. Even about which Tarleton he should be pursuing.

This is a fun instalove romp with plenty of over the top action. The hero does screw up a lot, and doesn’t instantly fix all his problems – though I also think some of the ways he was treated were disproportionate and mean and intentionally misconstrue his actions, reading ill intent into everything he does when in general he is following social norms, doing what is expected and usual, and generally trying to find the best outcome for everyone – he just needs to listen to others’ needs more. But, they also need to listen to him.

It bothered me that he gets accused of assaulting someone when he accidentally hits them while escaping from being tied up by them – that’s an accident and was he just supposed to be fine with being tied up for no reason? Because lbh, he’s dragged into this “chase” by Bonny, yet he’s the one blamed for continuing even when Bonny insisted they go after his sister and bring her home.

Bonny is very entertaining, his sister is a drama queen nightmare though I’m sure was fun to write. I wish Bonny had called his sister out on her bullshit instead of blaming her overreactions all on Valentine.

I love the author’s note at the beginning that’s like, everyone’s queer get over it. The sex scenes were not appealing to me but everyone’s got their own taste 😉 I was frankly surprised at the last sex scene which felt like it came quickly and moved too fast after they agree to take things slowly because Valentine is demisexual. I also dislike when one person is sexually involved with someone else in the book, even if it’s before the characters admit they want each other.

Maybe a bit of a pacing issue with the plot climax happening a little early but the emotional resolution closing out the book in just what you know is coming, in a charming way.

By Tracy Durnell

Writer and designer in the Seattle area. Freelance sustainability consultant. Reach me at She/her.

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