An Unlikely Alliance by Rachel Van Dyken
Publisher: Astraea Press
Length: Short Story (25 pgs)
Rated 4.5 Stars
Review by Snapdragon
Spoiled New York rogue Royce Mc Arthur lives a charmed life. He sees no reason to settle down, until his mother issues her decree that he must grow up, find a wife and produce some grandchildren…preferably before she dies of old age. But his choices are quite limited considering the only women of his acquaintance are ones of ill repute.
Meeting the beautiful Evelyn DeJarlias at a ball gives him hope he may have found the one. Her southern blue collar outspokenness and lack of refinement draws him like a moth to a flame. Unfortunately, she does not find him nearly as endearing -- consistently refusing his lavish gifts and his attentions, she poses a challenge he simply cannot ignore.
When his mother and her widowed father begin to keep company together secretly, it provides the perfect excuse for him to spend time with Miss DeJarlias, but figures from Royces past threaten to destroy the blossoming love between the couple. Evelyn must decide if she is willing to trust the man or hold his past indiscretions against him.
'Classic' is the first word that pops into mind after so-happily reading An Unlikely Alliance by Rachel Van Dyken. This meets every expectation one might have for a romance.
Evelyn dreams of a glamorous life. Like "Belle" she wants 'so much more than this provincial life.' Hers is a middle class life however, not horrible...but far from her dreams. Then, almost magically, her circumstances change...although that might not be the gift it seems, when it comes to dealing with tutors.
Royce McArthur is perhaps not 100% rake, but close; he's vain and flippant and yet, funny. And attractive. All right, like all the other women around him, this reader fell for him, too. He isn't fooling anybody, least of all Evelyn. Conversations between the two are simply hysterical. The more I read of this one, the more I wanted to continue reading. Smart and sassy doesn't begin to convey their dialogue - and there are other entertaining characters (as we find out from overhearing the butler who overhears the kitchen staff, who has it from... but that would be telling!) .
One or two points in the story seemed less believable than should be, such as: a twenty-one year old being hit by a tutor? But these are small points, and in all take nothing away from the focus of the story.
If overall the plot's a shade predictable, it's no worse for that, and perhaps, all the more sweetly satisfying. And, from moment to moment, I never never exactly might happen: dinners and dances just never go as they should! Reading it is like anticipating the flavor of one's favorite pie...and then finding that somehow, expectations are exceeded. Do read.