Review – The Allure of Attraction by Julia Kelly

About the Book:

Lavinia Parkem, the most talented dressmaker in Edinburgh, has never forgotten her first love: Captain Andrew Colter. They were meant to be married years earlier but when Andrew’s ship was wrecked in the Caribbean her parents forced her to marry another.

Andrew may have survived a shipwreck to find fame and fortune at sea, but he never fully healed after Lavinia’s abandonment. Instead, he dedicated himself to the navy—and secret missions for the foreign office. Nearing retirement and back on British soil, he’s given a new assignment—infiltrate the home of a wealthy banker who’s suspected of being behind a plan to assassinate the Prince of Wales. But to do that, Andrew must recruit and turn the woman the banker once wooed: Lavinia Parkem.

Unable to shirk his duties, Andrew begrudgingly uses the influence of successful matchmaker of Edinburgh to convince the now-widowed Lavinia to help him take down his mark. She relents, telling herself that Andrew’s no longer the warm, loving young man she once knew. But the more time she spends with him, the harder it is to pretend there’s no longer any attraction there. And it’s tormenting Andrew that he must ask her to put herself in more and more danger and now, he must decide whether his duty to queen and country is worth risking the life of the woman he never stopped loving.

Click on title below for direct Amazon buy link:                                               The Allure of Attraction (The Matchmaker of Edinburgh Series Book 3)

My Review:                

I received a complimentary copy of this book.

Lavinia and Andrew were childhood friends, and by age sixteen, they were lovers and engaged to be married.  Andrew was only a ferryman’s son, and very cognizant of the fact that Lavinia was a gentleman’s daughter.  He started his sailing career at age twelve, determined to earn a fortune , so that he could adequately provide a comfortable life for Lavinia.  On his latest journey, Andrew’s ship is destroyed in the Carribbean, and news is sent back home that he has perished.  Andrew is alive, though badly injured, and it takes months for him to recover sufficiently to find his way home.  He joyfully runs to Lavinia’s arms, only to find that she married another, just two days ago.

Lavinia’s betrayal cut Andrew to the bone, and he focuses on his naval career, also accepting missions for the foreign office.  Now, sixteen years later, Andrew is ready to retire, though only thirty two years old.  He’s had enough of the sea, and of government intrigue.  His superiors, however, have one final mission for him.  The prince is believed to be in danger, and one of the men suspected of being part of the plot is a man who has designs on none other than Lavinia, now widowed.  Andrew refuses the assignment until he learns that his replacement would be a man he doesn’t feel adequate to keep Lavinia safe.  Though he never wants to see her again, it seems he can’t allow her to be put in danger.

Lavinia is now working as a successful dressmaker, which is the focus of her life.  She was widowed after only two years of marriage, and left without any means of support.  She is shocked to see Andrew again, and even more surprised to learn his reason for contacting her.  Though she initially refuses, because she has no desire to get close to Harold Wark, the odious man who is the suspected traitor, she eventually capitulates.

The former lovers are awkward and angry and definitely uncomfortable with each other.  Yet, there is still that spark of attraction that has never died.  Eventually that spark ignites the same passion that they felt over a decade ago.  The passion, while explosive, does not cancel out the hostility and hurt that still lingers between them.

THE ALLURE OF ATTRACTION is not an easy read because the love Lavinia and Andrew shared was so genuine, though they were young, and the way they were parted was truly tragic.  I can totally understand Andrew’s rage and feelings of betrayal.  He was too hurt to listen to anything Lavinia had to say, so he never knew the reason she married another.  Though I honestly don’t feel the reason is justification, I sort of understand that she was weak, and feeling grief, believing that her love was dead.  The Lavinia of today is not weak, she’s had to be strong just to survive.  As this couple plays out their assignment for the foreign office, the danger threatens both their lives.  They slowly address the baggage of their past, but will it be enough to allow them any kind of future together?

It really hurts my heart to read stories of lovers separated for such long periods of time, especially when the reconciliation comes with bitterness and pain.  I would have liked to know what Lavinia’s brief marriage was like.  I know that she felt no love for her husband, and that he greatly exaggerated his financial status,  but was he cruel?  kind?  understanding?  Did he love her?  There was also a big problem that Lavinia’s brother, Caleb, had that wasn’t resolved.  Perhaps his story is coming in his own book. THE ALLURE OF ATTRACTION is full of emotion, pain, danger, intrigue, and finally, restoration.  I think fans of second chance romance will find this book very satisfying.   ~Rose


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