Title: Romancing the Ugly Duckling
Author: Clare London
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press/Dreamspun Desires
Length: 260 Pages
At a Glance: I’m such a fan of these Dreamspun books. I know I’m going to get a happily ever after, and that the road will not necessarily be smooth, but the ride will definitely be worth it. Kudos to Ms. London on this delightful story.
Reviewed By: Sadonna
Blurb: 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.
Review: Perry, an up and coming stylist for a London media firm, is offered the opportunity of a lifetime. He just needs to convince the fifth of the famous Ventura brothers (think British Kardashians but with guys) to return to London and participate in a “reality show” with the rest of his siblings. There’s just one problem—Greg has ZERO desire to see his brothers, let alone appear in a TV show with them.
Perry’s friends support him even though he’s nervous about heading north. He knows nothing about Scotland, other than he thinks he’s going to be really cold. This is prescient as his arrival in Scotland is anything but pleasant. His arrangements are suspect and he ends up staying at Greg’s place. Greg is a bit of an uncomfortable host. He’s been on his own for years, and he’s really not used to anyone being in his space. There are, however, a few perks. Firstly, Perry is a MUCH better cook than Greg, and in gratitude for allowing him to stay, and even make his pitch, Perry is happy to help out. To say that Greg and Perry are opposites is an understatement. But, there is definitely an attraction there.
Greg begins to begrudgingly admire Perry’s tenacity, and Perry admires the life that Greg has carved out for himself. What Perry doesn’t like is Greg’s perception of himself as a bumbling ugly duckling. He definitely doesn’t share that opinion, but it’s hard to get Greg to come out of his protective shell. Greg’s friends are on Perry’s side, though, and they do their best to assist Perry in forcing Greg to be more sociable. Greg is astonished at the way Perry has won over the entire village. And maybe he’s even a bit jealous.
When Perry’s boss leaves him high and dry at Greg’s, Perry is crushed. He confesses to Greg that he really needed this job, and why he is so unhappy to return to London and his prospects there. Greg feels bad, but, as usual, he gets in his own way and can’t seem to express to Perry how he truly feels. When Perry gets into trouble trying to help a local, Greg gets a second chance to make things right.
This is a really sweet story. Perry and Greg are well drawn characters, and I could just picture them trying to figure each other out. They both grow up a lot in this story, and what I especially enjoyed was the fact that they bring out the best in each other. Perry discovers he’s much more capable than he ever thought, and Greg learns to see himself a bit more through Perry’s eyes, instead of the lens of his rather dense and bullying brothers. I’m such a fan of these Dreamspun books. I know I’m going to get a happily ever after, and that the road will not necessarily be smooth, but the ride will definitely be worth it. Kudos to Ms. London on this delightful story.
You can buy Romancing the Ugly Duckling here: