The Baron Next Door by Erin Knightley (Prelude To A Kiss #1)

The Baron Next Door by Erin KnightleyAvailable: Now Amazon/B&N

Type: Historical Romance

Publisher: Signet

My Copy: Sent

Reviewer: Pam

Charity Effington learned two valuable lessons from her first betrothal: 1) When one loses the attention of an earl, one gains the attention of every gossip in London. 2) Despite the lingering scandal, she’s not prepared to marry for anything less than love.

After an exhausting Season, Bath’s first annual music festival offers Charity the perfect escape. Between her newly formed trio and her music-loving grandmother, Charity is free to play the pianoforte to her heart’s content. That is, until their insufferably rude, though undeniably handsome, neighbor tells her to keep the “infernal racket” to a minimum. Hugh Danby, Baron Cadgwith, may think he’s put an end to the noise, but he has no idea what he’s begun. Though the waters of Bath provide relief from the suffering of his war injuries, he finds his new neighbor bothersome, vexing, and… inexplicably enchanting. Before long, Hugh suspects that even if his body heals, it’s his heart that might end up broken.

This is a delightful historical romance that features a hero with both visible scars and those you can’t see and a woman that brings music back into his life.

Hugh Danby is the reluctant new Baron Cadgwith, his brother died not long ago leaving a widow with a child on the way. Felicity, his sister in law, treats him like a sister and has been on him to visit the healing waters of Bath for his war wounds. He was in a horrible accident on the fields of war several years ago and suffers not only visible scars but debilitating neck and head pain.

It is unfortunate that the Summer Serenade in Somerset Festival is taking place at the same time he is in Bath; music seems to bring on his pain, and as much as he misses it, he stays away. After being here for a few days, he realizes that he has rented the worse possible townhome in Bath, right next to someone who practices the pianoforte at all hours; it is entertaining to watch Hugh and Charity meet for the first time.

Charity Effington, daughter of a Viscount, loves music. She is staying in Bath with her grandmother for the festival and enjoying the freedom from her mother’s matchmaking. When Hugh and Charity meet, the battle lines are drawn as they begin their uncertain relationship.

This is a sweet historical that features the friendship of three young women as well as the romance between the hero and heroine.

Bath is a place where people come seeking the healing waters to help them overcome what ails them. Hugh is here because of his sister in law, the pain he suffers since the war keeps him from performing his new duties as a Baron. Hugh can be very likable, it is unfortunate that the pain he is experiencing causes him problems with Charity, the indecisiveness he shows when he is with her is a perfect example and is very frustrating. At times he is charismatic and flirting and other times he pushes her away. I do have to say I was intrigued with the fact that he did not seem to care about the scars on his face, maybe the pain overshadows it. They have a rather bad start, the music she plays on her pianoforte directly causes him pain and after he confronts her, she is ornery enough to continue to play causing their relationship to get off on the wrong foot. I enjoyed the humor of the situation during their spat and although they eventually settle their differences he is still fickle with his feelings. The romance is light as they do not get together until late in the book but they seem to fit.

Charity is also a very likable person; music is her life, she tends to gets lost while playing and the world disappears, to be that passionate about something is amazing. At times the story is more about the friendship between the trio that play together in the festival than about the relationship with Hugh. Sophie and May play a large role in this story but they seem to take away from the hero. I do like that May brings a different culture to the story, from the healing methods her friend brings with her from the Orient that eventually helps Hugh, to the music she blends with Charity and Sophie to make a magical festival night for them.

The pace of the story works well, as we watch the romance between them grow from anger to friendship to love. This is a great start to a new series, we met Charity in a previous book, A Taste of Scandal, and so many are familiar with her. The secondary characters are a great addition to the story and as I stated before, Sophie and May play important roles, and Sophie will be featured in the next book. A nice suggestion for those who enjoy a tortured hero and the woman that can help him heal.

I give The Baron Next Door by Erin Knightley 3.75 stars!

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