Kiss Me Kate by Katy Regnery

Blurb:
25540433Kate English, cousin to the beguiling English Brothers, has relocated to Philadelphia and now works with her cousins at English & Company. The problem with moving to Philly? It was where Kate met her first love, Etienne Rousseau. Since the move, Kate can’t seem shake the painful memories of a romance that broke her heart.

Etienne Rousseau, neighbor and arch-enemy of the English family, is recently single and has every intention of enjoying his newly-minted bachelor-status. That is…until his brother inks a deal with English & Company, forcing Etienne to work with his one-time lover, Kate English. Though he wants to hate the girl who once destroyed his life, he can’t deny the fierce attraction or hide the deep tenderness he still feels for Kate.

With vibrant flashbacks of their passionate, teenage love affair making it impossible to ignore their unresolved history, Kate and Etienne will commit to unraveling the secrets of their heartbreaking past to make way for a breathtaking future.

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My Review:
4.5 stars — Oh Etienne…I was so freaking skeptical.  Like seriously, soooooooo skeptical that I actually really held back and wore my skeptical face for a great deal of the reading of this book, but you won me over.  I thought it was impossible, but you managed it.  Or should I say Ms. Regnery managed it.  And I don’t even feel cheated or anything.  She managed it where there were some misunderstandings, a lot people acting not their best, but it was all kind of human, you know?  Like I could be mad at all of them equally for the misunderstandings and grudges of the past, and while I was at first sad and wanted my English boys to be above reproach, I could see how it could have happened that way, and it was OK knowing that not all my beloved characters are flawless.  Even Stratton…heck especially Stratton, since he’s still working on coming around.

And I know I’m talking so much about Etienne, but if you read the whole English brothers series, you understand why their is an initial sense of pushback when you find out that Etienne is Kate’s love.  I wanted to trust Ms. Regnery, but there were a few moments in Stratton’s book where he just comes across so smarmy or something…but even that kind of gets explained away.  Like Etienne acknowledges the kind of f’d up-edness of his relationship with Amy, and that he did not behave his best either.

OK, enough about all that.  Basically all you need to know is that I am a grudge holder, and I forgave Etienne…so all those people who said I would love him were right.  And not just Etienne, I loved Kate too.  She was this beautiful mix of confident and sassy and insecure…definitely a heroine I could relate to.  And she was a bigger girl too, like me!!  We could swap clothes!!  So obviously that’s going to make me love her too!  But it was her heart that I loved…she has an innocence about her, but she was still so strong.

And Etienne was so sweet and almost heartbreaking as a teenager.  Like he had this undeserved reputation based on a language barrier, and my heart just went out to him.  Seeing him connect with Kate just made me feel so many butterflies.

And that’s one of the things that was kind of unique about this final (sort of) book in the English Brothers series — it was kind of a combination of an adult book and a young adult book, b/c we didn’t just get present, we got tastes of their past as well.  And not tiny flashbacks, but longer ones!  We really got to watch them fall in love and connect.  I really loved that.  It did make for some strange pacing in the book, b/c in the end we didn’t get as much from the present as I had been anticipating.  But I was still thoroughly satisfied.  Just not sure if it will be to everyone’s tastes, you know?

And all along we got little tastes and foreshadowing about what went wrong in the past, but it was so hard to know how they each felt they’d been betrayed by the other, but know that neither one had the full story, and that so much had happened to keep them apart.

So I loved it.  I loved the love and the romance, and I believed in it, and I swooned, and I melted, and I was just thoroughly satisfied.  Now I can’t wait to see how Lib takes on J.C.!!!

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