Monday, June 8, 2015

Saving Crofton Hall

Author: Rebecca Cohen
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
ISBN/BIN: 978-1-63216-508-4
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary Series
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx

Benjamin Redbourn, the Earl of Crofton is faced with a financial crisis when he learns his mother’s gambling debts and forgery of his signature has put the ancestral home in danger of foreclosure. He refuses to let the bank take his home and decides to open the Elizabethan manor up for weddings and other paying events. It’s a bigger job than he imagined and needs help.

Downsizing cost Ashley Niven his event planning position, so he jumps at the chance to work at Crofton Hall. As he and Benjamin get everything ready for their first client, the two men grow close but can Ashley overlook Benjamain’s playboy reputation? Money is tight, time is running out and the manor is full of old secrets. Can these two men save the manor and make a life together work?

Saving Crofton Hall is the first release in the new series Stately Passions by Rebecca Cohen. It’s wasn’t until I checked the Dreamspinner website that I realized the author had previously published the historical series, Crofton Chronicles. Be aware that Stately Passions pulls in information from those books but reading them isn’t necessary.

The premise of turning an English manor house into a paying property isn’t a new idea. That doesn’t mean I didn’t find how it’s forced on Benjamin by his mother’s irresponsible behavior, both realistic and creative. I did. The situation he’s placed in is nearly impossible but he remains patient with his mother despite her actions. Truthfully, I don’t know if I have that kind of patience. Still, the author does a nice job keeping the family as a unit and working together to make the best of the situation.

I enjoyed Benjamin. Despite his playboy reputation, you have an idea pretty early on what happened. He’s a good guy and afraid of being hurt again. Then there’s his home—Crofton Hall. The author does a great job using tidbits of the past characters that become a focal point—and the descriptions are vivid, pulling the reader into the scenes. I also enjoyed all the details of the problems Ashley and Benjamin dealt with getting ready to open. Dealing the permits, upgrades, inspectors and other things would be a nightmare and I could feel their frustration.  Good going Ms. Cohen.

These two men make a believable couple and their relationship moved along at a speed that is realistic. This author is a new one for me and I thoroughly enjoyed this introduction to her writing. I can’t wait to read what happens to them and Crofton Hall next.

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