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Book Review: Mills & Boon Loves, featuring Maisey Yates, Barbara Wallace, Aimee Carson and Leah Ashton

mills boon loves Book Review: Mills & Boon Loves, featuring Maisey Yates, Barbara Wallace, Aimee Carson and Leah Ashton

With the bookish proposal earlier this year and my subsequent running of a wedding website, it looks as though love is well and truly in the air for me. In addition to all of this, Ive had Texan cowboys and spunky firefights thrown my way (well, at least on paper), much to my poor nerdy fiances chagrin. Needless to say, the fiance was thoroughly perturbed once again when this anthology arrived on our doorstep: it contains four novellas all about fiesty young lasses falling for billionaire (or occasionally millionairepfft!) employers, all of whom, I have to say, would well and truly fail any sort of HR assessment regarding the appropriate treatment of staff. But oh, its saucy, and occasionally very witty, fun indeed.

The Petrov Affair

The anthology opens with The Petrov Affair, which isnt as James Bond-esque as it sounds, but no matter. Madeline Forrester is an events co-ordinator working for high-end jewellery company Petrova, founded and owned by bad boy jeweller and designer Aleksei Petrov. Both, of course, have their requisite dark pasts: Madeline is still smarting from having her private affairs made public years ago, while Petrov is still mourning the lost of his deceased wife. And given that Madelines dark past involves an affair with her boss hitting the papers, going after the man at the apex of the company isnt exactly her preferred way of going about things. But soon enough, Madelines efforts to climb to the top of the events division of the company end up with her being, er, on top in a rather different way indeed, and the two find themselves battling their demons (and the logistics of having sex on office tables).

The Petrov Affair'is tidily mapped out, packing reams of oh-so-essential romantic tug-of-war into its short 170 pages, and its a snappy read overall. Granted, I do get squeamish whenever Im faced with an alpha male character, and Aleksei Petrov is no exception, but Madeline is endowed with liberal amounts of sass, which helps to balance things a bit. I do wish that there had been some secondary characters in this one, though: as far as I recall, only Madeline and Aleksei have speaking roles, which makes for an insular-feeling narrative. I did find the conclusion to this one a little abrupt, and could have done with seeing the denouement drawn out a little more, but there are some nice elements here, such as Petrovs design of a special bracelet to represent the past and future of his life. Yes, its sappy, but it works well within the wider context of the novel.

The Petrov Affair'is available from Amazon'as a standalone.

The Cinderella Bride

Hot on the heels of The Petrov Affair'is The Cinderella Bride'by Barbara Wallace. By hot on the heels I dont just mean physical proximity, but also thematic similarity: we have another career-focused gal falling for her ultra-wealthy boss, although this time weve moved over into the hospitality industry. Emma ORourke is a PA who is determined to earn top marks on her annual appraisal, and puts her all into her job working for Kent family matriarch Mariah Kenteven going so far as to brave the elements to ensure that Mariahs grandson Gideon attends an important family business meeting. Gideon, of course, is essentially estranged from his family, and has little intention of becoming a part of its hotelier hegemony; hed rather focus his attentions on his own business instead.

Dark and gloomy pasts rear their heads again, with Emmas pragmatic nature the result of being brought up by a flighty teenaged mother, and Gideons resentment of his family having deep roots indeed. This works to a degree, but as someone fairly new to the romance genre Im always bewildered by the degree to which characters in these novels are utterly scarred by past relationships: the inclusion of the phrase I dont do relationships seems to be mandatory. As a standalone I think this one would read more strongly as a novel, but following directly after The Petrov Affair'theres definitely a sense of similarity that I think weakens the impact of The Cinderella Bride. I did, however, thoroughly enjoy the character of Mariah, who with her soap opera addiction and bold and bossy approach adds plenty of levity to the angsting and digging up of skeletons.

The Cinderella Bride'is also available from Amazon'as a standalone.

Secret History of a Good Girl

The saucy factor ramps up a bit with Aimee Carsons Secret History of a Good Girl, in which down-on-her-luck events planner Alyssa Hunt is determined to show just how good she is at her job by knocking the socks off hotel owner Paulo Domingues. (Of course, although Alyssa intends to do so in only a metaphorical sense, it doesnt take long before all sorts of clothing starts flying) Domingues is intrigued by the southern lass, who has gall and confidence in spades, and sets her up with a trial run to prove her worth. And Alyssa does, but with a bit of sleight of hand that hints at, yes, you guessed it, a dark past. (Aside: fiance is by this point feeling very insecure about the fact that he is not a billionaire)

Carsons debut, although following the by-now rather familiar theme of employee (or contractor) hooking up with the boss, has quite a different tone from the previous two in the volume, which is key at this point. Domingues certainly doesnt hold back with the innuendo, and Alyssa certainly doesnt care to be a long-suffering sexually frustrated girl. Plot-wise the novel is quite simple, with few other confounding factors, but Carson does a good job of utilising her secondary characters, making the story feel a lot more well-rounded than it might otherwise.

Secret History of a Good Girl is also available from Amazon as a standalone.

Secrets and Speed Dating

And now on to the final, and by far the strongest, in the collection: Secrets and Speed Dating by Leah Ashton. Ashtons debut stands thoroughly apart from its predecessors in both tone and format, and from its opening lines gives plenty of whimsy and quirkiness. Where the previous three novels in the volume open in a fairly predictable mannersubordinate meeting wealthy bossAshton holds off on the meeting between her hero and heroine a little longer, which helps a good deal in building the setting and developing the character of her main POV character, Sophie Morgan.

Project manager Sophie has just been jilted by her fiance, and in order to get her life back on track has prepared The Sophie Project, upon completion of which shell be on top of things once more. On the top of her list of things to do, however, is to find a faux boyfriend to be her plus one at a friends forthcoming wedding. After a dodgy stint at speed dating, she drowns her sorrows in a heady array of cocktails while spilling her woesand the milestones of her project planto the bartender, Dan. Dan offers himself up as the faux boyfriend in question, and soon finds himself filling in personal dossiers and memorising Sophies favourite colours and ice-cream flavours in order to play the role to a T.

Of course, as Dan points out, not everything in life can go according to plan, and the two begin to fall for each other, with plenty of misadventures and silliness along the way. Every now and then Sophies obsessive following of the rules does become tiresome to the reader, but having worked with a team of production editors (hi, guys!), well, I can say firsthand that these people do exist.

Secrets and Speed Dating'is certainly a charming read, and with its Perth setting and laconic Aussie humour, resonates with me as a reader. Theres certainly a sense of vagueness at times, though, as a concession to the international audience being targeted: place names are often ambiguous (yes, Ive been to the restaurant not named in the book), and weird Americanisms such as candy crop up alongside the more Aussie lolly. Still, Ashton has taken some liberty with the plotting approach and voice of her novel, and this one really stands out as a result.

Rating: star Book Review: Mills & Boon Loves, featuring Maisey Yates, Barbara Wallace, Aimee Carson and Leah Ashtonstar Book Review: Mills & Boon Loves, featuring Maisey Yates, Barbara Wallace, Aimee Carson and Leah Ashtonstar Book Review: Mills & Boon Loves, featuring Maisey Yates, Barbara Wallace, Aimee Carson and Leah Ashtonhalfstar Book Review: Mills & Boon Loves, featuring Maisey Yates, Barbara Wallace, Aimee Carson and Leah Ashtonblankstar Book Review: Mills & Boon Loves, featuring Maisey Yates, Barbara Wallace, Aimee Carson and Leah Ashton (very good)

With thanks to Midas PR for the review copy

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Your turn: whats your take on the employee falling for the big boss trope?


  1. Book Review: Mills & Boon Loves anthology @HarlequinBooks @millsandboonuk

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