|Pub. Date:||March 28, 2017|
The ginormous Worthington family is back in this third installment of the series, with a strong-willed young heroine and a prideful hero in a refreshing love at first sight scenario. While I don't believe its absolutely necessary to read the earlier books... I would recommend reading at least the first book, Three Weeks to Wed, to get the background on the very large blended family of eleven!!! children. Grace and Matt (the children's guardians) showed that romance was possible even when responsibility is weighing you down.
In It Started with a Kiss, Matt Worthington's friend Gideon has come back to town following the death of his father. Unfortunately for Gideon, he comes home from Canada to a duchy in financial straights due to the strange and flighty behavior of his late father. Therefore it's Gideon's first priority to revive the duchy and reorder things his father left in disarray... and between gambling debts and a spendthrift young mistress, he has his work cut out for him. He definitely was not in the market for a wife, but he was doomed as soon as he saw our young heroine charging through Hyde Park on her early morning ride with a great beast (Great Dane) in tow. Gideon was an honorable hero and he really wanted to protect all the women in his life and fix things with the duchy before anyone found out how far his father had fallen. I could not fault him for his actions, and I didn't even get mad when he wasn't forthcoming with our heroine regarding his troubles.
Louisa Worthington is the eldest sister of the large family, and she is a very self-assured and headstrong young woman. She's in the midst of her first season when she spies Gideon, and decides that he is the one for her. There's just one problem, his dithering cousin (an omega male for sure) fancies himself in love with Louisa. Being a resourceful young lady, Louisa puts a plan in place to set all to rights and pave the way for her and Gideon to have their happily ever after. I liked Louisa, she was not a dishwater miss, nor was she overly focused on the marriage mart. Rather, she was mature for her age and she knew her own mind and what she wanted from life - things I definitely like to see in a heroine.
As I said above, these characters knew right from the start that they were destined for one another. I found their early commitment to one another refreshing. I enjoyed that we didn't spend the majority of the story playing games or hard to get, but instead they worked on building their relationship and worked (somewhat) together toward a common goal. While Gideon did not confide all in Louisa, it was not due to a lack of trust... but because he knew she was so capable that she would want to tackle his problems, and he was determined to find a resolution himself to both protect her and provide for her. I thought it was sweet, even if he had to learn a lesson regarding communication.
I found the plot conflict to be interesting and would have liked to see a little more of it. I think there was room to showcase the former mistress, Mrs. Petrie, as a bigger antagonist. I liked the portions where we got her POV, and I thought her machinations were an interesting aspect of the story. I preferred this part of the story over the conflict regarding the gambling debts.
I recommend this story to fans of historical romance who are looking for a sweet and light-hearted story. The Worthington family is endearing, and I think we will have a number of engaging heroines in this series. I voluntarily reviewed an advanced copy of this book that I received from the publisher, Kensington/Zebra.