Review: A Prior Engagement by S.L. Scott

My Thoughts

Sweet and romantic.
A story about finding love unexpectedly and being brave enough to follow your heart. A light and enjoyable read.

4stars

Synopsis

a prior engagement

Living in a world built on pretenses, Everleigh Wright discovers how carefully orchestrated her Upper East Side life has been. Trapped in an arrangement for social prestige and financial gain, she finds life is not as idyllic as she once thought.
William Ryder leads a life rich in family support and endless determination. While attending university in Manhattan, he becomes enamored with a classic beauty who holds many secrets beneath her quiet propriety. William falls head over heels crazy for her, and she falls for him and his unfaltering optimism and kindness.
William and Everleigh may come from different worlds, but their attraction is instant and their love undeniable. Hoping love conquers all, they will find out if their love is unstoppable when faced with the consequences of breaking a prior engagement.
“Right here, right now is all that matters.” 

My Review

The book begins with William and Everleigh in their British Literature college course in New York City. They both take notice of the other, but walk away until they meet again after class at their favorite coffee shop, Bean There.

“Looking up at the guy next to her, she was both cautious and intrigued. A straight nose led to a smile under eyes that were closer to navy than sky blue in color. She didn’t stare at him long, although she did notice his handsome features hidden under the days-old scruff he was sporting. His hair was unkempt, a lot like his clothes, and was disorderly and wild, which made her wonder if he is too.”

They casually conversed while stealing glances at each other as an unfamiliar pull begins to build between them. Reality soon sets in, however, when Everleigh is picked up by her fiance, Tom Whitney. Immediately you realize that something is not right, that she is far from happy.

“His touch was all wrong, but she remained still and composed. If she was truthful, it wasn’t just this one time. His touch hadn’t felt right in a long time. He hadn’t felt right in a long time.”

Everleigh is entangled in a complicated situation, burdened with marrying into another wealthy family–
a modern day betrothal solidified since she was just seventeen. And although the engagement started honestly, Tom has become a man she fears, never knowing “which Tom” she’ll find. She’s privileged and wealthy, living on the Upper East Side, but it’s all appearance. Caught between responsibility and commitment, she’s lost her freedom and lives robotically day to day with clear expectations to be the perfect fiance at all times.

On the other hand, William grew up very differently, in a family full of love, but not always with a lot of money. But despite their different upbringings, Evie and William fall in love.

William is entranced with Evie, loving the intelligence and free spirit he sees. I loved William! He is SO incredibly sweet and real! You can’t help but fall in love with him! He makes her feel alive again and they connect over common interests like their passion for books. While I loved William immediately, Evie was more complicated for me. She’s a complex character and often times I honestly wasn’t sure how I felt about her. There were times where I thought she fussed over things that were inconsequential, but I realized her life has been so meticulously structured that she’s been living in the fringes where the small and insignificant matter–I wondered if those small things were her only semblance of control. And although he’s in the dark about Evie’s reality, William catches on to these nuances early on.

“I have a feeling you live in a bubble of sorts.”

Evie hides the fact she’s engaged… ashamed and fearful of her situation and wanting desperately to alter the course of her future at the same time. After all, there can be severe consequences for her. But being with William brings out her spirit and she suddenly can’t imagine her life without him.

“You make me feel parts of my soul I didn’t know existed.”

The more I read though, the more I warmed to Evie. She’s in a really tough situation and is now barely able to be herself. As the protective layers begin to shed, I found myself liking her more and more, rooting for them to find a way to be together! I should also say that although the plot line touches on abuse, it really isn’t the central theme of the story… it’s truly about two people falling in love in the face of difficult circumstances.

Of course, everything comes to a scary culmination. Tom is absolutely awful and Evie and William try to find a way to be together. During these times, my heart was beating so fast and I found myself speeding up my reading, wanting to know what would happen. Evie’s situation is intricately tied together by Tom and by her parents… a situation which is not easily untangled. I wish the character development went a little deeper. I wish I felt more impact with some of the most important moments. But overall, I still enjoyed the story. This is definitely a sweet book with a happy ending I just loved, proving that in the end, love really does conquer all.

prior engagement

 

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Comments

  1. Thank you so much for the lovely review, Vilma. xo

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