An Inconvenient Kiss by Caroline Kimberly
Click here to preorder the book on Amazon, Release date: July 14, 2014
Georgiana Phillips was all set to make the match of the Season and secure her place in London society, but an inconvenient kiss shared with Simon Ashford leads to her ruin, and her exile away from society. It is six years later and Georgiana is on another leg of her travels with her cousin and grandfather. It should just be another dot on the map, another place to explore and study, but Simon Ashford lives and works in this particular place, and so, the questions that should have answered six years earlier will now have their day in the sun.
Caroline Kimberly sets her sweeping romance in India, amidst the colours, culture, and perils of the country. This is, perhaps, the highlight of reading this particular romance. I loved the author's depiction of the people (Baljit and Kavi) and the places are very vivid and evocative. In truth, I was a bit worried that the Miss Kimberly would exoticize and stereotype the culture, but I was won over by her sympathetic eye and attention to detail, showing the magic of India that exists up to now. It helped that her heroine was an avid researcher and devoted her time studying and understanding the weaving industry.
There are two obstacles to our hero and heroine's love story: one, Georgiana isn't convinced of Simon's faithfulness. She stumbled upon him engaged in a liaison with a married woman all those years ago. She isn't convinced of Simon's change of heart and his intentions of marrying her. Second, Georgiana has gained a reputation of being "fast" -- collecting admirers from her travels like souvenirs. Simon isn't certain that this woman, six years older and wiser, is the same woman he loved before.
"You'd been with so many women ... and we didn't know each other, not really. I knew you'd get bored with me and I -- I didn't want to spend my life with someone who had married me because he was ... obligated."
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He was no longer the same young man who had pined after a beautiful, witty girl, he reminded himself, tucking in his shirt rather vehemently. He'd experienced the horrors of war. He had seen friends die at his side. He had traveled through foreign -- sometimes hostile -- lands. He had built cities out of nothing, for god's sake; he could handle one young woman with unusual eyes. He was no longer at the mercy of Miss Georgianna Phillips. He was a grown man in control of his impulses. He was in control of his destiny, and that was how he meant to proceed.
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Which is easier to prove? One's devotion? Or one's modesty? What I loved about Simon and Georgie is that they kept talking, despite their misgivings -- even if it was to argue or to hurl accusations at each other. They never stopped talking and never stopped giving each other a chance. Even at their angriest, they were still there, challenging each other past their boundaries and comfort zones.
"Miss Phillips, I accept your apology. But please forgive me when I tell you that I do not feel friendly toward you," he muttered, his voice rather gravelly.
For a moment her disappointment was palpable. Something that looked suspiciously like hurt flashed in those violet depths. Then she squared her shoulders. Georgiana rallied quickly, he had to give her that. Taking his arm again, she inclined her head. "I appreciate your candour, Mr. Ashford. Perhaps we should return to the cantonment."
"That would be best," Simon agreed, beyond grateful that she did not press the issue.
They strolled in uncomfortable silence. Finally, Georgiana said politely, "I believe we shall have some inclement weather soon. The clouds look rather ominous."
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It takes India and the adventures they face there to finally address their doubts about one another. Reading An Inconvenient Kiss reminded me of the classic adventure-romance movies like Romancing the Stone.
Beyond the love story, what kept me reading this was how Georgie dealt with her ruination. She had the world in her hands, and it all went to hell because of one minor misstep. She didn't quickly get herself married to quickly repair the damage (and make this a marriage of
"My life has been singular. It truly has. I've seen things most English women, most English men, will never see. I've climbed mountains that touch the clouds and I've gone swimming in oceans as blue as sapphires. I've camped in the desert and traveled through jungles most people have never even dreamed existed."
Georgiana smiled up at him, and he felt his heart leap. "I've waltzed with princes and prayed with mystics and haggled with crabby spice vendors. I have lived my life, really lived my life, and I have no retreats about it, Simon, not one. ..."
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"This has been a fine evening, Mr. Ashford," she said conspiratorially. "The public has revealed in their scorn of me -- the women all scandalised, the men all titillated. I upset dinner, albeit mildly, and two men almost came to blows. For the grand finale I exonerated an ex-lover while securing his admiration. And we've not even had our coffee yet. I daresay I may be the most successful fallen woman ever to have fallen."
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An Inconvenient Kiss is book 1 in Caroline Kimberly's Ashford Brothers series and her debut novel. It will be released on July 14, 2014. To find out more about Caroline Kimberly, click below:
*I've searched online for the author's website/social media sites and can't find them.
Disclosure: I received this ARC via Netgalley. Thank you to Carina Press and to Caroline Kimberly for the opportunity. Yes, this is an honest review.