GAMES IN A BALLROOM, by Jentry Flint, Shadow Mountain, May 3, 2022, Paperback, $15.99 (young adult/ new adult/ adult fiction)
A young woman puts her heart — and quite possibly her life — on the line in Jentry Flint’s new Regency novel, Games in a Ballroom.
Olivia Wilde has resigned herself to never finding a love match. Her father has insisted she marry a man with a title, but the men her father deems acceptable are either boring or are only interested in increasing their own diminishing coffers. With her future looking dismal, Olivia vows to enjoy the last few months of freedom with her childhood friends, including Emerson Latham. His devilish smile and flirtatious teasing stirs up feelings she knows she cannot entertain.
Emerson is struggling to rise to his responsibilities after his father’s death. Though he is still learning his place, one thing he knows for certain is that he wants Olivia Wilde to be his wife. Emerson had long ago fallen in love with her quick wit, beauty, and passionate heart. Yet, without a title, he will never be permitted to court Olivia openly. But he has a plan that may give him a chance to court her in secret.
As the Season kicks off, Emerson proposes a playful game of tag. Olivia’s friends are delighted by the idea, though Olivia is wary. After all, the game must be played in secret as they tag each other at dinners and balls. As the romance builds between Olivia and Emerson, so does the risk of being discovered. Not only are their reputations at stake, so is their safety if they are caught by Olivia’s strict father.
Can their love find a happily ever after before the game ends? —Synopsis provided by Shadow Mountain
Sometimes you just need to read a good romance. What do I mean by “good romance?” One where there’s friendship and conversation. In other words — a true connection. That’s what you get in Games in a Ballroom.
At the center of the novel are Olivia and Emmerson. Both are good people trying to do the right thing, but keep getting in their own ways. They are surrounded by Emmerson’s two good friends — who offer much-appreciated comic relief — and Emmerson’s sister (who is also Oliva’s best friend). The interactions between the five are grounded and honest. It’s this interplay throughout that really makes the book.
Author Jentry Flint’s writing has a calm, familiar tone that immediately welcomes you in and asks you to stay a while. She has a good grasp of the time period and she adeptly balances external conversations with internal struggles. It’s a fast read, perfect for a weekend afternoon.
While Games in a Ballroom isn’t tailored for the YA market, the characters do skew younger. Shadow Mountain’s Proper Romance line, particularly its Regency Romances, evoke the sort of Jane Austen sensibilities that do appeal to young adults, and this should do well with readers 14 and up.
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