Thursday, 15 June 2017

Romancing the Ugly Duckling by Clare London - Review Tour

Buy Links: Dreamspinner | Amazon US | Amazon UK 

Length: 63,000 words 

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press 

Cover: Bree Archer


Is this the makeover of a lifetime?

Ambitious fashionista Perry Goodwood lands the project of his dreams—track down a celebrity family’s missing brother in the Scottish Highlands and bring him back to London for a TV reality show. But first he must transform the rugged loner into a glamorous sophisticate.

Greg Ventura has no use for high fashion. He lives on the isolated island of North Uist to escape the reminder that he’s nowhere near as handsome as his gorgeous brothers and avoid the painful childhood memories of being bullied.

Greg wants nothing to do with city life, and Perry’s never been outside London. When Perry is stranded on North Uist, this conflict seems insurmountable. But Greg is captivated by the vivacious Perry, and Perry by both the island and his host. However, Perry’s one heartfelt wish remains: that ugly duckling Greg fulfill his potential as a swan.


You know how sometimes you read a book and it just works on every single level? Romancing the Ugly Duckling was that sort of a read for me. The story and I just clicked; almost as if the book had been written to my personal specifications.

The premise is something we’ve all read before; City-slicker Perry meets anything but suave Greg and while their differences should have kept them miles apart, the magnetism of opposites kicks in and the two men stand no chance in the face of that mutual attraction. That in and of itself would have been more than enough to make me a happy reader, but once the ‘ugly duckling’ trope was added to the mix I was well and truly a goner.

Perry and Greg are both wonderfully drawn and thoroughly adorable characters. Perry’s optimism and determination, even when faced with a not altogether happy host (Greg) and a location and community he doesn’t recognise or understand, was a pure delight. Nothing appeared to faze him; least of all Greg’s grumpy, at times borderline rude, behaviour.

At first glance there appears to be more depth to Greg; a personal history which makes his choice to live in almost seclusion understandable, just as it explains his insecurities when it comes to his appearance and his worth. Don’t we all know how hard it can be to shake off those casual but hurtful remarks others throw our way when we are young and impressionable? Sure there were times when I wanted to slap him for his inability to open up, for his refusal to trust Perry’s feelings. But given his history, him keeping his heart locked away made perfect sense. And, of course, his reluctance to embrace the gift that is Perry only served to make the moment when he does accept himself and the man he’s fallen for all the more beautiful. (There are other reasons why I adored that particular scene, but sharing those would mean spoiling the story, so you’ll just have to read the book if you want to know more).

But, just as Greg turns out to be far more than a grumpy man old before his age, there are more layers to Perry too. The first impression may be one of a possibly empty-headed socialite; it soon becomes clear he is anything but, not to mention a lot more. In fact, it was impossible not to fall hard and fast for Perry who refuses to take no for an answer and tackles whatever life throws his way head on.

There was a wonderful cast of secondary characters in this book, especially those we meet on North Uist. The balance between humour, romance, sexiness, and heartfelt drama (I wouldn’t go so far as to call it ‘angst’) was just about perfect.

To summarize, Romancing the Ugly Duckling was a charming, fun and delightful read. I thoroughly enjoyed Romancing the Wrong Twin a few months ago (click here for my review), but I loved this one just a bit more. And a lot of that was due to…

“Greg. Wonderful, honest, argumentative, antisocial, sexy Greg.”

I do hope there will be more ‘Romancing the…’ titles to come.

Author Bio

Clare London took her pen name from the city where she lives, loves, and writes. A lone, brave female in a frenetic, testosterone-fuelled family home, she juggles her writing with her other day job as an accountant.

She’s written in many genres and across many settings, with award-winning novels and short stories published both online and in print. She says she likes variety in her writing while friends say she’s just fickle, but as long as both theories spawn good fiction, she’s happy. Most of her work features male/male romance and drama with a healthy serving of physical passion, as she enjoys both reading and writing about strong, sympathetic, and sexy characters.

Clare currently has several novels sulking at that tricky chapter three stage and plenty of other projects in mind... she just has to find out where she left them in that frenetic, testosterone-fuelled family home.


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