There’s a growing trend in historical romance to write about more common people, and I rather like it! Not that I don’t enjoy stories about the ton, but there’s only so much Lord Whosit and Lady Whatsherface you can read before it all blurs together. I often laugh that if you packed every Regency author’s noble cast into London, the overcrowding problem would be epic. Anne Mallory’s One Night is Never Enough doesn’t leave the confines of the ton but focuses on characters who aren’t quite a part of it: coolly reserved Miss Charlotte Chatsworth, who longs for freedom, and Roman Merrick, a notorious owner of several gambling establishments.
Charlotte’s father is an inveterate gambler and, well, really just a horrible human being. Charlotte’s whole life has been about retaining her self-possession, an illusion of control and class, while her family is pulled every which way because of her father’s behavior. She’s a saint…who is suffocating. And when her father bets her in a high stakes card game at one of Roman’s hells, Charlotte finally begins to breathe.
This is a sexy story about finding yourself, about learning what you’re capable of, and setting society’s rules aside to pursue your happiness. Charlotte and Roman are a great match, and even if Roman’s brother doesn’t quite get what he sees in Charlotte, the reader quickly understands why Roman is so obsessed.
I really loved Mallory’s writing. There are some beautifully poetic bits, and some hilarious moments as well. There’s an exchange with Charlotte and her cheeky sister Emily towards the end that had me laughing out loud on the subway, and a startlingly erotic comparison of Charlotte and Roman to Persephone and Hades that had me going, “Did Mallory just imply what I think she implied?”
One Night is Never Enough is a sequel to Seven Secrets of Seduction, which I have not yet read. And I didn’t suffer for it. With a small core cast of characters, it’s easy to follow what happened in the past and you actually crave the book that’s coming next, rather than feeling like you’re being beaten over the head with sequel-itis. Mallory baits the trap perfectly, and I found myself primed for the story and back story of Roman’s brother Andreas, which comes out in October.
What can I say…? One book is never enough!