Cheryl Bolen is a regency romance genius. I love how her characters come to life. Even though the trope is common, Bolen’s titles never feel stale. Once Upon a Time in Bath is one of my favorites, though I recommend the entire series.
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- Title: Once Upon a Time in Bath
- Author: Cheryl Bolen
- Publisher: Harper and Appleton
- Genre: Historical Romance
- Pages: 254
- Format: eARC
- Rating: 5/5
Many thanks to NetGalley, Cheryl Bolen, and Harper and Appleton for gifting me a free copy of Once Upon a Time in Bath in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
Trigger Warnings: Violence, Murder
Available Now order on Amazon
Synopsis of Once Upon a Time in Bath
Lord Appleton may be a bit of a rake but he’s never been one to lose his head at the gaming tables. Yet he loses everything on a night of which he has no memory. How will he dower his sisters? Where will they live when the vile man who bought his debts forces them from their house in Bath? Lord Appleton will do anything to reclaim their house and avoid hurting his family—even if it means having to marry a peculiar heiress.Quoted from Goodreads
When Miss Dorothea Pankhurst arrives in Bath with her ailing father—and the four cats she’s never without—she is ignorant of the ways of Society. Then the kindly Lord Appleton and his gracious sister take her under their wing. She’s immediately smitten with the handsome viscount and thrilled beyond measure when he asks for her hand in marriage.
After the murder of a young dealer at the gambling house where Appleton played, Dot and Appleton grow closer as they work together to find the killer. But they’re not fully aware of the sinister forces trying to pull them apart . . .
Dot is a country girl fresh into city living. But, the healing properties of Bath are to help her father recover from his many ailments. On their first outing, a humorous incident lands them in the middle of Bath’s high society. Luckily, Viscount Appleton and his sister Annie rescue them. Under the wing of the Appleton’s, Dot blossoms into a fine young woman.
Though, when she and the viscount set out to solve a murder, she is in much danger. Throughout the mystery, Appleton’s quest to find a bride with a fortune turns into full-on true love. The moment he realizes his feelings, he can’t believe it. But, after the mystery concludes, he learns that his wanting to marry for love is in reach.
Bolen delivers us a pair of gems with Annie and Dot. These women are my favorite characters in the novel. I love Annie for her passion to protect Dot from ridicule. Though, she also prohibits impropriety at the hands of her brother. Both women are fireballs, but Dot is downright feisty. She gives as good as she gets, but with a full range of emotions. And, these women are avid readers who love the lending library! Who couldn’t love this attribute?
My favorite part of the story is not a particular scene but the progression of Viscount Appleton’s feelings for Dot. He sets out on a quest to find a bride with a fortune when he learns of the country girl with an affinity for cats. He sets his plan in motion, but as he goes from finding her unattractive to being a mad fool in love, he softens. This unfolding was fun to witness.
I am happy to award Once Upon a Time in Bath a full 5 out of 5 stars. I encourage those who love cozy, regency romances to read this book. Pick up the rest of the Brides of Bath series too while you are at it.