Hello, everyone! Today I’m reviewing One Night in Hartswood by Emma Denny, which was published yesterday and is now available wherever you buy books. The cover of this was so cute and included a blurb by Freya Marske. So, there was no way I wasn’t going to read it. 🙂
When his sister’s betrothed vanishes the night before her politically arranged marriage, Raff Barden must track and return the elusive groom to restore his family’s honour.
William de Foucart — known to his friends as Penn — had no choice but to abandon his fiancé, and with it his own earldom, when he fled the night before his enforced marriage. But ill-equipped to survive on the run he must trust the kindness of a stranger, Raff, to help him escape.
Unaware their fates are already entwined, their unexpected bond deepens into a far more precious relationship, one that will test all that they hold dear. And when secrets are finally revealed, both men must decide what they will risk for the one they love…
***Thank you to Mills & Boon for providing a copy of the book via NetGalley. My review contains my honest thoughts about my reading experience.***
One Night in Hartswood was such a delightful story full of small intimate moments that built into a beautiful romance. The pace was steady, and the writing was accessible and easy to read, even though there were the occasional odd turns of phrase. The plot was easy to follow, with most of it just being the two men traveling together and attempting to avoid discovery as their relationship grew.
I loved both of the main characters in One Night in Hartswood. They were both searching for freedom and found it in one another. Raff wanted to do something for himself, but his sense of duty always kept him tethered to his family and providing help to anyone who needed it. Penn was trapped into a marriage he didn’t want by the controlling father who abused him for his entire life. He had internalized feelings of helplessness and worthlessness, which he worked to overcome over the course of his journey with Raff. Both of their arcs were very heartfelt, and they deserved the whole world.
The romance between Raff and Penn was the best thing about One Night in Hartswood. It was insta-lust at first sight, but their relationship didn’t take a major physical turn until halfway into the book. This allowed them to develop a base of friendship and emotional intimacy that eventually exploded in a very hot way when they couldn’t avoid their physical attraction anymore. There were so many soft moments with just the two of them as they traveled, and I loved every minute of it. Their relationship was built on secrets and mistaken identities, though. So, there was also plenty of drama once they learned the truth about one another and how their love complicated so many things.
The major drawback of One Night in Hartswood was its lack of any historical world-building. The story supposedly takes place in 1360, but there really aren’t any details that would alert the reader to that fact. The world felt pretty generic, and I wish it would have incorporated more actual history from the time period. I get that the focus was on the romance, but a little bit more context would have been nice. If you are looking for a historically accurate story, this probably isn’t the one for you. If you can look past the world-building and just enjoy the relationship dynamics, though, I definitely recommend this book.
One Night in Hartswood was a wonderful romance with lovable characters whose relationship was soft and intimate while also creating all kinds of drama. The lack of historical details held it back a bit for me, but I still enjoyed the plot and finished the story in less than 24 hours. Therefore, I rate One Night in Hartswood 3.25 out of 5 stars.
Have you read One Night in Hartswood? Does it sound like something you’d enjoy? Let me know down in the comments!