6 June 2011

Review: SWEPT OFF HER FEET by Hester Browne *****

The steps of a charmingly complex dance—Scotland’s famous reel—are at the heart of Hester Browne’s enchanting contemporary novel of two very different sisters whose dreams may come true at a romantic Scottish ball.

Evie Nicholson is in love . . . with the past. An antiques appraiser in a London shop, Evie spins fanciful attachments to Victorian picture frames, French champagne glasses, satin evening gloves, and tattered teddy bears—regardless of their monetary value.

Alice Nicholson is in love . . . with Fraser Graham, a dashing Scotsman whom Evie secretly desires. As crisply neat and stylish as Evie is cheerfully cluttered, Alice is a professional organizer determined to pull her sister out of her comfort zone—and who presents her with an irresistible offer.

As a favor to friends of Fraser’s family, Evie jumps at the chance to appraise a Scottish castle full of artifacts and heirlooms. What could be more thrilling than roaming the halls of Kettlesheer and uncovering the McAndrews’ family treasures—and dusty secrets?

But crossing paths with moody heir Robert McAndrew has Evie assessing what she wants the most . . . and at an upcoming candlelight gala, a traditional dance will set her heart reeling.

Last year, I read my first Hester Browne book, The Finishing Touches, and I absolutely loved it! That's why I was over the moon when I heard about Hester's 2011 book Swept Off Her Feet, which sounded fantastic too and I rushed to read it as soon as I could since I knew I was in for a treat!

If I had to sum up the book in one word, it would be: romantic. A stately home, snow, dashing men, secret compartments, a love story from the past, an upcoming ball - what's not to love? I'm not an overly romantic girl myself, but I happily allowed myself to see the world through Evie's eyes, where romance is everywhere and I have to admit I found it quite enjoyable. She's an antique appraiser so it's a dream come true for her when she's invited to find to the Kettlesheer castle in Scotland to help its residents find something valuable that they could sell in order to cover the massive bills. Though she's supposed to be working, she also has plenty of opportunities to daydream and she even gets the chance to learn the Scottish reels herself, which results in several hilarious situations since Evie is meant to be the clumsiest person ever, haha.

I just loved getting lost in the snowcovered Kettlesheer - I thought there was just something magical about it. I was rooting for Evie to find something valuable (goodness knows that proved to be more difficult than it seemed at first) and to find some romance of her own. I'm not telling if she did or not, but the chemistry between her and a certain dashing male character was certainly off the hook! I also loved reading about the Scottish reels, which took me by surprise. I admit I wasn't too familiar with them before, but since Evie's lessons were described in so much detail, I decided to look up of videos of the particular reels (Hamilton House, The Eightsome, 51st Division) so I could picture them more easily, and surprisingly I found the far more fun and endearing than I thought I would! I'll attach one of the many videos below so you can see how adorable these dances are!

All in all, like I said, what's not to love? The plot was wonderfully romantic, the characters were a bit quirky and positively lovely, plus there was several lough-out-loud scenes. I loved the setting itself and the little twists & turns. I'll admit a few coincidences were perhaps a tad too coincidental (certain things are discovered just in the nick of time), but I wasn't too bothered by that at all since to book was just such a delight to read!

Yes, this is a very fluffy read, but luckily not in the way that would make you roll your eyes, but more in a way that will leave you feeling all warm & fuzzy inside and you'll close the book with a smile on your face. Sometimes it just feels goooooooood to read books that take you away from the stress of everyday life, am I right? Well, if you need a bit of romance in your life or some cheering up, then give this book a try - you'll love it!

overall rating:
plot: 4/5 | writing: 5/5 | characters: 5/5 | cover: 4/5


Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...

I have this one waiting for me and I am SO glad to hear it's good!

Lena said...

Great review, it's good when readers are rooting for the characters, I always find that enjoyable, because it means the reader made the perfect connection.

One More Page said...

I loved The Finishing Touches and have got this on my wishlist - I'll be bumping it up the list having read your review :-)

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