Daring In a Blue Dress
A Matchmaker In Wonderland, Book #3
By Katie MacAlister
Author’s Website: http://www.katiemacalister.com/
Stranded in England without money or a ticket home, Mercy Starling takes a job working for a medieval re-enactment company. After all, who wouldn’t want to pretend to live in the past, wield swords and long bows, and dress up in armor? And the best part of her summer job is Bestwood Hall…or rather, its intriguing new owner.
The painfully shy Alden Ainslie is overwhelmed by the medieval reenactors who invade the Tudor house he’s renovating, but he’s drawn to the bubbly Mercy. And he valiantly joins in the fun, dodging not just arrows, lances, and the odd sword thrust, but also some pretty suspicious—and potentially deadly—attacks on himself. Someone wants him to give up on the house. But Alden is desperate to prove himself—and win the heart of his lady fair.
Back to reading about the eccentric and quirky Ainslie Brothers. This makes me happy (with a big goofy grin on my face). This quirky Ainslie family is just pure, unadulterated fun. In the third installment of the Ainslie Brothers series, we get to meet Alden Ainslie – one of 10 siblings; who is extremely shy around woman. His pregnant sister-in-law Alice (wife of Elliot) is busy trying to pair off all the Ainslie men and she has a certain someone in mind for Alden (after all – he is over 30).
In an effort to assist the Ainslie estate income (which was already stressed), Alden plans to flip Bestwood Hall. He has bought this monstrosity of a decaying old house with the intention of fixing it up and reselling the home. So in a panic to get away from the match making…off Alden goes to Bestwood Hall to begin his renovations. Once Alden arrives at his property, a number of things happen, which turn an interesting situation into a crazy (albeit funny) situation. Alden soon learns that Lady Sybilla (the previous owner of Bestwood Hall and has the right to live on the estate for her lifetime) does NOT want to move the refurbished gatehouse and that she rented the garden area for a three week period to a medieval re-enactment company.
Mercy has plans for the summer, to be a nanny for a family, to earn money to continue on with her education. As this job falls apart, she manages to land a job for a company holding sessions of medieval re-enactment for a three week period on the grounds of Bestwood Hall. Unbeknownst to Alden, Mercy is the woman that Alice wants Alden to meet.
When Mercy and Ainslie meet, you can tell there is something there. But with a terribly shy Alden and a scattered Mercy, the development of their relationship is not without some unusual moments. As time proceeds, they do talk and become somewhat more comfortable (Mercy is hot and bothered for Alden). As these two forge a relationship, the stiffness between them lessons in an awkwardly funny manner. I LOVE how they interact. I can honestly say….I never thought I would laugh at the descriptions of some of the lovemaking that went on….but I did.
The humor in this book was spot on for me….for example (and most notably the character Alden was the funny guy)…
“What was that noise? It sounded like a banshee screaming.”
“It was the mantel. I believe it just tried to commit suicide.”
There were a number of sub-plots going on which surprisingly enhanced the main love story plot as opposed to detracting from it. There is the Hairy Tit situation. There numbers are very low and with only three breeding places in the whole of England, the biggest and best location is of course on the property of Bestwood Hall. Then there is the medieval re-enactment company. And wouldn’t you know it….Mercy is good at archery (be patient…you will learn why that is important when you read the book). And then there is the discovery of tunnels…what significance do they play.
I enjoyed the nicknames that Alden and Mercy took with each other while on the sleuthing trail, once they discovered the secret passage…just shows how in tune these two are to each other (even if they have not figured it out themselves):
“Look, stairs! In your window seat!. Oh my god, this is just like something out of my childhood Nancy Drew book.”………..
He gestured to the stairs. “I guess we go down. Are you all right with that, Nancy?”
“right as rain, Ned. Lead on!”
The one thing that did not make sense to me was the title…Daring in a Blue Dress. Guess I shall just have to read the story again and see if I can’t figure out the meaning of the title. But that shall have to wait until I have finished the entire series.
This book has everything: romance, humor, interesting plot lines, unique and strangely relatable characters. Basically, keeping in the theme of the prior books in this series.
The amount of times I caught myself giggling and then outright laughing while reading this book was wonderful! Laughter is important and when in pursuit of romance….cute! Thank you Katie MacAlister for penning such an enjoyable book. Cannot wait for the continuation of the Ainslie Brothers series.