Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Review: Beautiful Distraction by Jess Michaels (e-novella)

Beautiful Distraction by Jess Michaels
Click here to buy the book on Amazon

I had the pleasure of reading Malcolm and Olivia's love story in Beauty and the Earl. I had a very good impression of Olivia and Malcolm and the very deep friendships they shared with Violet and Liam and it was also interesting to compare the two love stories as they developed side-by-side, and I'm glad that Jess Michaels has decided to (re)tell their story from their own points of view.

We believe Olivia to be a bit flighty and whimsical, not being able to settle on any one protector for an extended period of time, and Beautiful Distraction explains why this is so. Olivia the courtesan is a construct born of years of training and constant vigilance: she has to consciously control her accent and her manners and always fears that she would slip up. In reality, Olivia is, perhaps, born of the lowest rungs in society and this is a fact of her existence that she strives so hard to keep, because she is afraid that no man would want her if they knew. She exudes an outward confidence, but, deep inside, Olivia is consumed by her insecurities and fears. My heart broke for her when she wouldn't accept the room Malcolm had prepared for her at Liam's house in Bath, thinking she wasn't worthy of it --

His brow wrinkled at her refusal of the room. "If you don't like it --"

She cut him off by spinning on him. "Oh no, it isn't that I'm ungrateful. It's beautiful. But ..." She hesitated and heat flooded her cheeks. "Malcolm, you understand I am a courtesan, don't you?"

He nodded slowly. "Yes. Our first conversation made that clear."

She held up her hands and motioned to the room. The reminder had to make him see.

"And?" he said when it was clear she wouldn't speak.

She huffed out her breath. So he would force her to speak her humiliation. "This room is for someone above my station, Mal. If I stay here ..."

She trailed off and her blush grew even hotter.
- loc 588

Malcolm's background is a bit more vague, but what is clear is that Malcolm also walks on the edges of good society and constantly struggles with his place in it. He is friends with Liam, Earl of Windbury, but he also works for Liam, Earl of Windbury. It's a strange situation, but Mal has done a very good job of taking care of his friend and his friend's estate. Considering his selflessness, I am glad that Mal was able to find a measure of peace and companionship in Olivia, although the beginnings of their relationship was also suspect: Olivia was meant to distract Mal, while Violet was spying on Liam ... but it was clear from the very beginning that there were sparks of interest flying between the two. It was less a job and more a pleasure.

The interesting thing (and, perhaps the reason why fans of the author's Pleasure Wars series should read this novella) is when Violet's connection to Ava and the Duke of Rothcastle is revealed and Liam and Malcolm both feel the pain of being betrayed by their loved ones. I always wondered what Olivia did when she decided to stay behind while Violet returned to London ... and Michaels does a very good job of fleshing out this part of the story.

She met his stare, holding it until she sensed his discomfort. "I would never turn you away, Malcolm Graham. Even if I have to wait a year or ten years. I'll be here, waiting for you to hear me. And some day you will hear me. Only then will we be able to decide where we go from here."
- loc 1475

As a companion piece to Beauty and the Earl, this accomplishes it's purpose and rounds out the story of Violet, Liam, Malcolm and Olivia, but Beautiful Distraction also works well as a stand-alone in telling the sweet story of two ordinary people who have discovered a very special love worth fighting for.

To find out more about Jess and her books, click below:

Disclosure: I requested this review copy from the author. Thank you to Jess Michaels for the opportunity. Yes, this is an honest review.



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...