Miss Annabel Winslow is the eldest sister of 8 siblings, who are a gentle country bred family from Gloucestershire. Money is running out, and her siblings’ futures are at stake – especially her brothers, who could be sent home from Eton if they don’t have the money to keep them there. But things change for Annabel – and not for the better – when her estranged Grandmother and Grandfather call on Annabel for her to stay with them in London. And it’s there that Annabel finds out that her Grandparents are arranging for her to be married to the Earl of Newbury: a very old, very fat, and very unpleasant man who only wants Anna for her childbearing hips that are described as ‘…so fertile that birds sing when she draws near.’ The Earl of Newbury wants an heir very badly so that his very hated nephew will not inherit.
Annabel is in despair at the thought of being married to such a man as Newbury, but she acknowledges that being married to an Earl would financially help her family. And with her Grandparents being such strict, and quite awful people, she’s stuck in a very hard place. One night, at an annual affair, Annabel escapes into the garden after being pawed by Newbury, and it’s there she trips over – literally – a certain Sebastian Grey, the hated nephew of the Earl. Annabel – not knowing who he is originally and vice versa – partakes in a very flirty conversation with Sebastian. The evening ends with a sultry kiss that surprises and affects them both quite deeply. After they meet a couple of times again – much to the dismay and also pleasure of Annabel – a scandal erupts, and it’s up to Sebastian to make things right.
I lurved this book! OK, I had to say that straight away. It was utterly charming, sweet, and oh so romantic. I think I said that about the first book, but I enjoyed this book even more. The hero and heroine were wonderful and funny characters, and I couldn’t get enough of them. When I first read about Sebastian from What Happens in London, I so hoped he would be getting his own book. Even as a secondary character in that story, he had charisma, a funny bone and was utterly charming. In Ten Things I Love About You, he was that, but 10x over.
I adored the romance between these two characters. From their first meeting to the very end of the book, they had oodles of a sweet, but burning tension, and you could practically feel the heat sparking of one another. Annabel knows that marrying the Earl would be the right thing for her family, money-wise, but she can’t deny the attraction and feelings she has for Sebastian. And Sebastian – after finding out who Annabel is – can’t stay away from her, and detests his Uncle even more. Sebastian and Annabel share so many funny moments, and they both share a deep kinship that I found to be very believable. They were made for each other.
Everything worked for me in this book. Sebastian’s feelings weren’t negated by the fact that Annabel still hadn’t said NO outright to the odious Earl. In a way, I felt as if Annabel was burying her head in the sand, and who could blame her. Seb at the time wasn’t offering her a way out, and she knew nothing of his financial status. She had to think of her family, and I found that to be very admirable. Her Grandparents were terrible people, but her Grandmother in certain scenes come across as hilarious. From when she tells Annabel that hopefully the Earl of Newbury will die, to where she’s quite tipsy and comes on to Sebastian in the most inappropriate, but awfully funny manner. But despite her Grandparents colluding with Newbury, the two lovebirds have help in the form of Olivia (the heroine from What Happens in London) and Annabel’s cousin, Louisa, who was fantastic and came across as so witty, and full of life. I do hope that Louisa gets her own book, and I wonder if it will be Edward, Sebastian’s cousin.
Ten Things I Love About You is not a very deep book, or full of angst, but Sebastian is not just a pretty shell. He does suffer from some sort of post-traumatic stress disorder from when he was a sniper in the army. He doesn’t like loud noises that surprise him, and he suffers from insomnia. But the author doesn’t hit you over the head with this in the book, although you do see glimpses.
Each character in this book has personality, especially Newbury who came across as so odious a lecher. I couldn’t help but wish he would keel over. The way in which the situation with Newbury played out was very satisfying, especially when Seb says, enough is enough in the most alpha type manner, and Annabel finally makes a stand. There is an hilarious scene towards the end of the book that had me in stitches where Newbury comes back from the dead, and it was simply brilliant. Despite the funny bone that’s evident in this book, Ten Things I Love About You had a wonderful romance, and some very serious moments that showed that these characters are not full of fluff, but have emotional depth – especially Annabel who wanted her family to have the stability, but didn’t want to sacrifice herself and her chance of happiness. There’s also a secret that Seb keeps from everyone in the book, and the reader finds out before the characters, and I felt it didn’t come across as silly, because it suited Seb’s character totally from when he appeared in What Happens in London.
I have to put Sebastian in my list of favourite heroes. This sort of book just make me fall in love with the romance genre all over again.
I give Ten Things I Love About You 5.0 stars.