Rating: I’d go there again!
What Not to Bare was a delightfully witty historical romance. Lady Charlotte Jepstow is an heiress thanks to a generous aunt; however, this means that she has the misfortune of attracting fortune hunters. To solve this dilemma Charlotte has donned her armor, that is, a rather outrageous dress that has earned her the label “The Abomination,” and which keeps the young gentleman at bay. Charlotte hopes that she will eventually find a man that looks beyond her clothes and loves her for who she is, and she thinks she may just have found him in Lord David Marchston, recently returned from India.
Unbeknownst to Charlotte, David has been asked by his superior, Lord Bradford, to court his niece (ie. Charlotte) in hopes that it will make her more popular; thus, gaining a suitable marriage proposal. Since David wants to return to India he reluctantly agrees to pay court to Charlotte, never dreaming that he’d want to make it a reality.
This was an extremely adorable romance. The banter between Charlotte and David was fantastic and kept me smiling the whole way through the book. The chemistry between the pair was also well done, and the whole novel was filled with tension until the eventual capitulation of their desires. I cannot express how well this was executed! I loved that David, a diplomatic negotiator, was completely befuddled when he encountered Charlotte and her frank ways. Frampton certainly knows how to write romance with a high level of character development and superb dialogue.
I also liked the fashion columns that were included at the beginning of each chapter. Charlotte had taken over the writing of the fashion column for her friend, Emma, so it was fun to see the results of her work. I liked that the column was not so much about fashion but about ton life. The inclusion of these articles was a very nice detail in the novel and always had some relevance for the characters themselves.
Having read Frampton’s Hero of My Heart, I found What Not to Bare a much lighter read; however, the same level of character development and wit was evident. I had loved Hero of My Heart and it was great to be able to have a look at the author’s latest work. I would highly recommend What Not to Bare to historical romance fans looking for a light read with a lot of humor in it.
*Review copy provided via NetGalley.