Author: Rebecca Cohen
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Reese Dante
Rating: 4.00 of 5 Stars
Stately Passions: Book One
A Crofton Hall Novel
Benjamin Redbourn, Earl of Crofton, has no intention of giving up his beloved ancestral home without a fight. Faced with his mother’s gambling debts, forgery, and the possibility of foreclosure by the bank, Ben vows to make Crofton Hall pay for herself. But opening an Elizabethan manor house to the public isn’t a one man job. With time running out, Ben needs help—and fast.
Ashley Niven has experience managing events, and he also loves history. Being in charge of opening Crofton Hall is a dream come true. As he works with Ben to prepare the house as a venue for lavish weddings and
receptions, Ashley finds himself drawn not just to the charm of the house but to the dashing Earl of Crofton. Even if Ashley can look past Ben’s playboy reputation, he fears an affair could prove too much of a distraction.
But Crofton Hall has many secrets, and something hidden for over four hundred years is about to change all their lives
Josie Goodreads’s View:
I didn’t know what to expect from Rebecca Cohan’s Saving Crofton Hall, having previously only read her historical trilogy, The Crofton Chronicles, set at the hall in Elizabethan times. However it was delightful, it had the same fresh feel as her trilogy and I loved how Ms. Cohen pulled all the threads together bringing Crofton Hall bang up to date.
Benjamin Crofton, the current Lord of the Manor, returns home after a trip abroad to discover his mother has gambled away the family home, Crofton Hall. She obtained an enormous loan from the bank by coming up with a cock and ball story about the money being needed to open Crofton Hall up to the public. With the bank about to foreclose Ben needs to bring his mother’s plan to fruition or Crofton Hall will be sold to pay back the loan. As 16th Earl of Crofton Ben is determined that Crofton Hall will not be lost on his watch.
Ben’s sister Caitlin persuades an old childhood friend, Ashley Niven, to apply for the job of events coordinator, i.e. the man needed to help Ben get Crofton Hall set up as a Weddings and Conference center, and Ashley gets the job. Years ago Ashley had a crush on Ben and that crush still remains but Ashely is determined to put the job first as Ben has a reputation as a player, he’s known as a man who flits from bed to bed, never staying long enough to even get the sheets warm. Unknown to Ashley Ben had his heart broken years before and this is why he behaves as he does.
Ben is surprised when he meets Ashley as he’s nothing like the soppy kid who followed after his sister years ago, and as they work together Ben finds himself increasingly drawn to Ashley but he steels himself as they need to work together to save Crofton Hall and that’s easiest if they remain just friends and colleagues.
I loved everything about this book, I raced through it. At first I thought it would be strange reading about Crofton Hall in modern times, without Anthony and Sebastian, but Ms. Cohen weaved the essence of the past throughout and this was enforced when Ben and Ashley discovered the letters secreted away in the oldest bedroom. Ben came over as quite serious at first, determined that he would rise to the challenge but I really liked how Ashley turned out to be the more forceful of the two and I got the impression it would be he who would be in charge if they ever got together which made a change from the tradition of the Earl and Lord always being on top.
I liked how getting the estate set up and opened as a venue was the main part of the story, the attraction between Ben and Ashley taking second place to this task. We cover health and safety, fire regulations, inspections for getting licenses and even how much per head is needed to turn a profit. Ben finds his urge to party is dampened by the responsibility he now has to the Hall and the relationship between the two men develops slowly, their friendship deepening before anything more takes over. At first Ashley thinks a fling might get his crush out of the way but its Ben’s sister Catlin that warns him off warns him that Ben is falling for him and Ashley needs to be sure, he can’t to play with Ben’s affections.
The story is full of great characters and moments. I particularly liked Ben’s sister Catlin and their cook Mrs. Weather. The story has so many great moments from the pure Britishness of the Woman’s Institute fate to Christie and Alice, the Halls first wedding. And I must say the glossary at the end, written by Ben, is priceless. It round the story off perfectly.
The only thing that annoyed me was Ben’s mother Elena Redbourn. I did find it a bit implausible that she was able to get such a large loan from the bank, and gamble it all away without anyone knowing, plus she never really comes clean about what else she has lost, Ben just has to find out as each crisis comes along. I think in Ben’s place I would have handed her over to the police, instead he keeps trying to excuse her behavior and deal with the fall out. My annoyance with her was a minor thing though and it never really affected my enjoyment of the story.
I found Saving Crofton Hall a thoroughly enjoyable read and I’m really looking forward to seeing more of Ben and Ashley in the future, and who knows there may be more secrets yet to unravel hidden between its ancient walls.
I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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