Review – From Rags to Kisses by Shana Galen

About the Book:

She’s poor as a church mouse.

When young Jenny Tate stumbles over the beaten body of a boy in the streets of the London slums, her only intention is to rifle through his pockets. But the bruised lad charms her into helping him, and the next thing she knows, Aidan Sterling and she are fast friends, navigating life on the streets with all its dangers together. Jenny has learned never to trust or love anyone, but as the two grow up, they learn to rely on other. And then Aidan betrays her in the worst way possible.

He’s rich as a king.

Aidan Sterling is one of the richest men in England. He has everything he wants and no one to share it with. After risking his life in the army, he returned to England and made a fortune. Now he keeps his loneliness at bay by focusing on what he’s good at—making money. And then Jenny Tate steps unexpectedly back into his life. He’s never forgotten her and never stopped loving her. Jenny hasn’t forgotten him either, and she hasn’t forgiven him. She’s betrothed to a viscount and has a new life and wants nothing to do with Aidan. But the discovery of an ancient trunk, a hunt for a street urchin, and the interference of homing pigeons might just be enough to bring these two back together.

AMAZON US Buy Link: From Rags to Kisses 

My Review:

I received a complimentary copy of this book.

Jenny Tate chose to live on the streets as a young child, as it was better than living with her parents – a father who beat her, and a mother who was an alcoholic, and tried to sell her on multiple occasions.  At age thirteen, Jenny came across a boy lying on the street.  Assuming him to be dead, Jenny turns him over to find there’s still some life in him.  Against her own better instincts, she helps the boy, and shelters him.  Aidan Sterling is the twelve year old illegitimate son of the recently deceased Earl of Cranbourne.  While the earl was alive, he provided for Aidan and his mother, but that all changed upon his death.  Aidan was cast out of his home when his mother died, and quickly became the victim of a beating, as he has no street smarts.  The two become friends and constant companions, with Jenny teaching him how to survive on the streets, while he teaches her to read and write.  In a few years, they become lovers, forming a solid bond, until Aidan’s uncle learns of his existence.  Upon being given the opportunity to become a soldier, and leave the poverty and hardships they’ve endured, Aidan decides to accept.  He promises to return for Jenny, but she is not having it.  Believing herself to be rejected, she cuts Aidan from her life then and there, but never from her heart.

Thirteen years have passed.  Aidan survived the war and being part of Draven’s team of soldiers who accepted dangerous missions.  Only twelve men survived of the original thirty.  When Aidan returned, the first thing he did was search for Jenny, but he could find no trace of her.  Believing her to be dead, Aidan walled up his heart and focused on making money, determined to never be hungry or to want for anything ever again.  His efforts have led him to being one of the richest men in England.  Jenny became the protégé of Viscount Chamberlayne, assisting him in his study and evaluation of antiquities.  Over the years, Jenny and the viscount have become dear friends, and have entered into an engagement.  Of course, fate would have it that Jenny and Aidan encounter each other.

Jenny has acquired a lot of polish, though her speech occasionally slips from its new ladylike veneer.  At the first opportunity, she confronts Aidan, wanting his assurance that he will not bring up her less than stellar past, and jeopardize her comfortable life.  Aidan gives her his promise, but can’t get close, as she appears to despise him.  Ironically, they are thrown together, thanks to some research by her own fiancé.  Though they are different people now, Jenny can’t deny her attraction for Aidan, and they manage to have several stolen encounters, though she is quick to tell Aidan that it’s meaningless and purely physical.

I have to admit that for much of the book, I really disliked the people that Aidan and Jenny had become.  Though they appeared to have accomplished their goals, for Jenny – security, and for Aidan – wealth, they had a hardness and coldness about them.  In particular, Aidan was focused on acquiring more and more of everything to the exclusion of everything else.  Even his relationships with his fellow soldiers have become strained, as he only contacted them when they could be of use to him.  Thank goodness both Jenny and Aidan did some soul searching, took a good look at themselves, and came to realize what they had become.  I love Aidan’s journey as he once again opened up his heart, not only to Jenny, but to his comrades, as well as to a young orphan girl. Jenny, I feel, was forced by circumstances to give Aidan another chance, but she finally began to see that this time his promises were forever.  FROM RAGS TO KISSES is definitely on the steamy side, and a little unusual.  It goes from friend to lovers to enemies back to lovers, then back to friends, as well.  The latter part of the book was very sweet and emotional, and concluded beautifully, leaving me a bit teary, but in the best way.    ~Rose 

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