Title: The Trouble with Honor, Book 1 of the Cabot Sisters series
Author: Julia London
Genre: Historical Romance
Story Setting: 1812, London, England
Published By: Harlequin HQN (February 25, 2014)
This is what Julia London says about the series (letter to reader in her book):
“In this series about the Cabot sisters, I introduce our young, privileged women who are expected to aspire to a very good marriage and not much else. But when their fortunes begin to change, these four are determined to break the rules that bind them and define happiness on their own terms. However, when one is raised in the lap of luxury, and learns nothing more taxing than some intricate stitching, one may not be equipped to circumvent the rules. One’s attempts to do so may go very, very badly. I hope you enjoy the Cabot sisters and their shenanigans as much as I enjoyed writing them.”
About the Story: Honor Cabot was born to be different. She struggles with the idea of what Proper Society demands of women in her station. She wants to live life to the fullest and then some which usually entails doing something that society views as gauche.
Ton tongues wag about her exploits which seemed to get more outrageous as she gets older. Her last caper was to enter with several young girls, albeit cloaked with hoods, a gaming hell for fashionable men of the ton located in a seedy part of Southwark, London. It is absolutely forbidden for such women to enter.
But Honor has a bee in her bonnet. She wants to be able to do things that men do, participate in society as men do. She doesn’t want to be relegated to the passive stance of stitching embroidery on her dowry. She doesn’t want to be told who to marry or where she can go. Then, her destiny is foretold when she meets George Easton that fateful night at the gaming hell.
George Easton is the illegitimate son of a duke, grandson to the king. Neither the duke nor the king acknowledge him. He has learned to cope with life through hard knocks and has pulled himself up through society through hard work and lucky breaks when taking risks.
However, the ton finds him much beneath them and he’s not welcome amongst them. He has stopped listening to what people think, and goes through life looking neither right nor left, having a goal and pursuing it, while accumulating wealth to buy his respectability.
At the moment Honor meets him, he’s worried about his ship loaded with valuable merchandise which hasn’t returned from the Indies. It’s late and people are starting to say that it might be lost or taken by pirates. George won’t accept this possibility, because all his money is tied up in that shipment. He risked it all. If he succeeds he would be rich beyond his dreams. If not, he would be sorely tried to keep the house he lives in, a symbol of what he could have been if the duke had acknowledged him.
Honor came to the gaming hell to play cards and George, after his initial shock invited her to sit and play in his group. George was intrigued. How could one of the ton women do such a trick and get away with it? And when she eventually won 100 pounds, he was even more engaged with this surprisingly sharp-tongued, witty, beautiful woman.
When Honor Cabot hears that her step-father is close to death, she knows her life, her sisters and mother’s lives will change and not for the better. She’s obliged to find a way out. She comes up with another outrageous idea and thinks George Easton would be the perfect person to help her and family gain some time to figure out what to do. Honor is bold enough to ask, but will George accept to do what she asks of him? What will she give him in return for the favor and what will he demand as payment?
My Thoughts: Both hero and heroine are lovable with hearts of gold even though their actions seem to break all societal rules. They are compassionate with rather hot tempers which adds to the steamy love scenes interspersed throughout the story. Honor does not play second fiddle in these scenes either. She gives as well as receives which makes the reader feel her shocking behavior even more. These two have similar personalities and are evenly matched, just not in station and there’s the rub. The fun of it all is watching them see for themselves that this is so.
When Honor realizes she can’t live without George, she does the totally unbelievable. Sorry friends, can’t tell you. No spoiler here.
George eventually goes completely gaga over Honor, can’t get her out of his mind which adds further entanglement.
Honor, even though she appears to be extremely spoiled, tries to do what is best for her family. However, when her step-brother insists that she marry and has already chosen her groom for her, this drives Honor to be even more shocking in her behavior.
There is a wonderful feeling of love between all four sisters. We know that this is Honor’s story, but the author has developed the other three sisters enough so that the reader can also relate to them. The antagonists, Honors step-brother and his finance, an old friend whose friendship has soured, are not evil, but pose a problem to Honor and her sister Grace more than the other girls.
There are many layers of conflict within the story. Internal conflicts of characters, external ones dealing with society and its acceptance/tolerance of some actions and not others. This story holds a struggle between what a woman should do in the Regency period and what she wants to do. It also exposes the difficulties within a family when there is love between siblings and a greater cause that must be dealt with. The story also exposes the difficulty of children who are born out-of-wedlock with the promiscuity of the male population.
All in all, I was well entertained, and enjoyed meeting the family. Julia London knits an interesting plot with lively dialog providing us her unique voice in the Regency period. I intend to read the rest of the series. I wonder if quiet, reasonable Grace, Honor’s sister, will continue with her quiet approach to life or will change. Grace’s story will soon be out, book 2.
Author Bio: Julia London is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of more than two dozen novels, including the popular Secrets of Hadley Green historical romance series (including The Year of Living Scandalously), the Cedar Springs contemporary series (including One Season of Sunshine), and numerous other works. She is a four-time finalist for the prestigious RITA Award for excellence in romantic fiction, and RT Bookclub award recipient for Best Historical Romance for Dangerous Gentleman. She lives in Austin, Texas.