Forced Marriage Creates Real Feelings | The Kiss of a Stranger by Sarah M Eden

The Kiss of a StrangerLord Cavratt (or Crispin to his friends and family) was only trying to escape a calculating young woman when he kissed Catherine Thorndale in the garden. Unfortunately, Catherine’s abusive uncle seizes this opportunity to get rid of his troublesome niece once and for all. He forces them to marry and now Crispin has to get used to the idea that he unexpectedly has a wife. In order to save both their reputations, Crispin and Catherine are forced to pretend that this marriage was a love match instead of a forced situation as they secretly work to obtain an annulment. Things become more complicated as they each begin to develop real feelings for each other. They just can never tell if the other is being genuine, or if they’re just playing it up for their public audience.

I got this book for my birthday a while back from my sister (thanks Cassie!). If you enjoy regency style romance, you should definitely look into this author. She’s written quite a few clean romances in several different settings. I love a good regency romance–there’s just something about that setting that makes every romance a little sweeter and more romantic and this book was no exception.

I’m just going to start off, though, by saying how much I hate that title. Seriously–endless teasing from my husband. Like…sure it matches the story and I know I shouldn’t feel ashamed about stuff that I like to read, but…still. Who wants to read a book titled The Kiss of a Stranger in public? Not me.

Okay, that put aside, this book is a classic situation where simple communication could clear a lot of things up. So while I still really enjoyed the book and the romance, I felt frustrated almost the entire time. I just wanted to be like, “Okay, you two get in a room and just TALK TO EACH OTHER.” Then there were some secondary characters that weren’t exactly helping the situation–at least they weren’t helping in a way that seemed helpful to me. On the other hand, if the characters had just sat down and talked with each other then we wouldn’t have the same tension and drama. So I see why it was necessary, but it was still frustrating as a reader.

I thought the author did a really good job with the characters. I liked both Catherine and Crispin a lot. Eden was able to give them depth and I felt like I could really understand their motivations. I especially thought she did a good job with Catherine who comes from an abusive home. I don’t personally know anyone who’s come from such an abusive home, but I feel like Catherine was treated as a real person instead of just a stereotype. The topic of abuse itself was treated with care and sensitivity. On another note, the secondary characters were also really fun. I especially enjoyed Crispin’s sister and brother-in-law. Their relationship and dynamic with the other characters brought more depth to the story and created some lighter scenes.

Overall, this book was fun and a really fast read for me–I would definitely read more from this author. The last critique I have is that some things didn’t really seem resolved in the end. Catherine’s uncle said a couple of things that I was just like, “Wait, aren’t we going to address what he just said?” There was also one particular character that I didn’t quite understand why he was in the story to begin with–perhaps he’s a character in another of Eden’s books? That’s kind of the only thing that makes sense to me as to why he would play such a large role. In the end, if you’re looking for easy, clean romances then I think you’ve found an author to explore.

Overall Rating: 4
Language: None
Violence: Moderate
Smoking/Drinking: Mild
Sexual Content: Mild

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