Type: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Self Pub
My Copy: Sent
British hotelier Ian Gregson had it all – wealth, good looks, power, and a share in his family’s worldwide, multi-billion dollar luxury hotel chain. His very name was synonymous with sophistication and elegance, and any woman he wanted could be his with just a look. But the only woman he truly desired was strictly forbidden to him for too many reasons to count.
Tessa Lockwood was young, beautiful, and lonely, despite the fact that she was a married woman. Her life had not been an easy one, and the extravagant world she caught glimpses of as an employee of the Gregson Hotel Group was far beyond anything she could ever dream of. She could no more imagine herself ensconced in that sort of luxurious lifestyle than she could attracting the attention of her handsome, debonair boss.
Ian and Tessa secretly long for each other from afar, never daring to reveal their forbidden attraction to the other, until circumstances bring them together in a very unexpected way. And from that point on, nothing will stand in Ian’s way to finally make her his.
Whenever I’m going to read (and maybe review) a book, I always go online to read some reviews. Not that I want spoilers, but I want to know what to expect – did other people think it was worth their time, what did they love about it, what didn’t they like, etc. The first “review” I read of Splendor was actually a post from the author on Goodreads. She wanted to give a little description of the book and her thought processes that went into the writing of it. One of the things she mentioned was that this was first and foremost a love story, and if I had to sum it up in one sentence, that’s what I would say, too.
At first I was a little put off by their romance. Even though it clearly states there is no cheating, Tessa is married to someone else when she and Ian first meet. Her marriage is not what you would consider a grand love story, and its demise is plausible and helped me get over my issue with Ian falling for a married woman. Another thing that disappointed me was the “woe is me” factor with Tessa. The author made a point of making the reader as sympathetic as possible toward Tessa. I don’t want to give anything away, but let’s just say her past is sadder than sad, and I would have preferred to have her be less emotionally scarred going in to her relationship with Ian. If there was a cliché about a poor, downtrodden, vulnerable young woman’s past that wasn’t used here, I couldn’t name it. The same goes for Tessa’s husband. I suppose the author wanted to make it clear how dysfunctional their lives were and explain why their marriage didn’t work.
With Tessa having such a depressing life thus far, it makes this sort of a Cinderella or even a Pretty Woman type of story, and that part of it I really liked. I didn’t dislike Tessa, and I definitely wanted her to have a happy ever after, so the story picked up for me once she was free and clear of her marriage. Ian was the consummate hero. He was brilliant, charming, handsome, powerful and successful. He had alpha tendencies but was also very reserved, so it was never over the top (except in bed, which I liked). For him, it was love at first sight when he met Tessa, and he was completely disheartened when he learned she was married. Given the way he felt about her, he couldn’t imagine she wasn’t free to be his.
Upon learning she was finally available (two years…two years he waited for her!), Ian’s pursuit of Tessa was immediate and dogged. What I loved most was that while he wanted her physically, he wanted even more to make life better for her. He couldn’t wait to spoil her and ease her way in life in ways she hadn’t experienced before. There was a fifteen year age difference between them, which I also liked. I’m a bit of a sucker for older men/younger women romances.
Ian and Tessa fell so deeply in love with each other, and I liked that the author didn’t put a whole lot of strife or angst into their story. Aside from people who had issues with the differences in their ages and social/financial status, and Tessa’s insecurities about not being worthy of someone like Ian, this book focuses solely on the two lovers finding their way with each other. Their emotions ran true and deep, and their sexual attraction sizzled. I ended up enjoying this book a lot more than I thought I would when I started it.
I give Splendor by Janet Nissenson 3.75 stars!