5 star rating
The Baron Next Door
A Prelude to a Kiss, Book #1
By Erin Knightley
ISBN#  9780451466785
Author’s Website:

Brought to you by OBS reviewer JoAnne


After an exhausting Season, Bath’s first annual music festival offers Charity the perfect escape. Between her newly formed trio and her music-loving grandmother, Charity is free to play the pianoforte to her heart’s content. That is, until their insufferably rude, though undeniably handsome, neighbor tells her to keep the “infernal racket” to a minimum.

Hugh Danby, Baron Cadgwith, may think he’s put an end to the noise, but he has no idea what he’s begun. Though the waters of Bath provide relief from the suffering caused by his war injuries, he finds his new neighbor bothersome, vexing, and…inexplicably enchanting. Before long, Hugh suspects that even if his body heals, it’s his heart that might end up broken.  (From the back of book).


Charity Effington has gone to Bath to visit with her grandmother after an unfortunate broken betrothal. Not that it is unfortunate for her, considering that she realized they would not suit, but in everyone else’s eyes, it was so. But she is consoled in the fact that there is going to be a music festival, and not only does Charity play the pianoforte beautifully, she composes her own music. Her happiest times are in the music room losing herself in the sound.

Or it was…until Hugh Danby moved into the townhouse next door. The new Baron Cadgwith, it seems, cannot stand the sound of music and makes a visit to her and her grandmother to virtually tell her to stop playing. Which, of course, she will not do, especially since she considers him rude to even suggest it. So, of course, Charity continues to play, and loudly. Thus begins a battle between the two that soon turns into something a little more friendly.

I was pleasantly surprised by this book for various reasons, the first being that it is a sweet romance, with little more than kissing taking place. With less attention being focused on sex scenes, more will be focused on characters and plot, in my opinion. In this, Ms. Knightley fares well. Charity is a shy girl and will rarely, if at all, speak up for herself. Yet she knows an injustice has been done to her, and she fights back the only way she knows how, with her music. The baron, however, is suffering from severe wounds he suffered during the war (unbeknownst to Charity), and the music brings on violent attacks and headaches which may last from hours to days. Unwilling to share this information, he goes from being rude to cajoling to kind toward Charity, which confuses her to no end.

The day-to-day interaction between the two could lead to no less than a mutual attraction in the end, which we all know. But it is the journey towards so, and the supporting characters of her friends Sophie and May, who make that journey more pleasant. I will say my favorite character was Thomas, Hugh’s young vicar relation, who acts and thinks as anything such. I would have liked to have seen more of him, but we can’t have everything!

In all, this was a delightful book, my first read by this author, but definitely not the last. For anyone who is interested in Regency romance, I think this will be a nice addition to their collection.

*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*