ARC Reviews

ARC REVIEW: Dalliances & Devotion by Felicia Grossman

summary

Publisher: Carina Press
Release Date: August 26, 2019
Received From: NetGalley

44014802A change in course can be refreshing…when it’s done together. 

1871

After two disastrous marriages, beauty columnist Amalia Truitt’s life is finally her own—well, it will be if she can get herself back to Delaware and demand access to her share of the Truitt family fortune. After all, the charity she’s organized for women who can’t afford their own divorces won’t fund itself.

However, not everyone wants her to reach her destination. When her family learns she’s been receiving anonymous death threats, a solo journey is out of the question.

Enter David Zisskind, the ragtag-peddler-turned-soldier whose heart Amalia broke years ago. He’s a Pinkerton now, and the promotion he craves depends on protecting his long-lost love on the unexpectedly treacherous journey across Pennsylvania.

That their physical connection has endured the test of time (and then some) is problematic, to say the least.

In very close quarters, with danger lurking around every curve, with each kiss and illicit touch, the wrongs of the past are righted. But David can’t weather another rejection, especially with his career in jeopardy. And Amalia can’t possibly take a lover, never mind another husband…not with so much depending on her repaired reputation. Not when she’s hurt David—her David—so badly before.

gender sexuality romantic pairings

GENDER: cisgender
SEXUALITY: presumed heterosexual
ROMANTIC ORIENTATION: presumed heteroromantic
PAIRING: M/F

tropes tags warnings

TROPES: second chance romance, class disparity, protector x protectee, sibling’s friend, friend’s younger sibling
TAGS: adult, historical, romance, Jewish characters, immigrant character, law enforcement, Black character, ownvoices
WARNINGS: stalking, ableism, mental illness (PTSD, panic attack), racism, animal death, vomiting, sex shaming, cissexism/anti-trans language, anti-Semitism, physical injury, pregnancy, domestic violence, abusive relationship, cheating, parental death, slurs, gendered slurs, fire, anti-sex work language

review

This book was just wonderful and as enjoyable as the first of the series!

Both Amalia and David, the two main characters, are people that a reader can fall in love with. Amalia is a beautiful, confident, headstrong woman with a heart of gold and endless amounts of kindness, who is also deeply self-conscious and sensitive, taking all criticisms to heart and not always believing positives and compliments. She’s independent and does what she thinks is right, actively trying to help others at every turn, even if it comes at a cost to her, which is admirable and makes her such a lovable character. Amalia has her own difficulties, but is always ready and willing to use her privilege in beneficial ways for the people around her. And David, he has such a strong sense of duty and righteousness, living by his own moral compass, which is so strong and, at times, incredibly stubborn, having the potential to make both himself and others miserable. But like Amalia, he’s all about trying to make life better for others and strives to bring equality to all facets of the world. Together, the two of them are a powerhouse of kindness and consideration, and the end result is that they are people that readers can root for, both as individuals and as a couple.

With this story, Grossman keeps the reader on their toes as far as the investigative aspect. The mystery and intrigue aspect of the novel is also enticing and effectively holds the reader’s attention as you’re left wondering what nefarious, dangerous situation will come next. But, she also seamlessly interweaves this part of the novel with the romance and friendship, creating an incredible balance of each aspect. As with Amalia and David, it’s difficult not to connect with the secondary characters of the novel, particularly Will and Meg, David’s partners in the Pinkerton agency, and become invested in them as well. 

Personally, I was particularly invested in the friendship that develops between Amalia and Meg. In the beginning, they are incredibly antagonistic towards each other as women who are polar opposites and have not lived the same kind of lives. But, over time, as they get to know each other through each obstacle the four of them face in getting Amalia safely to Delaware, a quiet but strong friendship builds between the two. One moment that was particularly touching, and had me in tears, was after David leaves after the misunderstanding with Amalia and Meg firmly but lovingly reminds Amalia of how strong she is, and how if David can’t take the time to listen to her, then she’s better off without him. It was a great scene and I really loved the way Grossman built their friendship to a point where they were able to have that kind of moment.

The only aspect of the novel that was a bit disappointing was the ending, because it all got wrapped up so quickly in a neat bow. The return of David’s father, after not being physically present in the novel at all, was quite jarring and felt a tad abrupt. When it was mentioned that there was a man waiting for David in his apartment upon his return after leaving Amalia in Delaware, I was honestly expecting it to be Thad or Jay, Amalia’s brother and father, respectively, not David’s father. But it was him, and the two have a conversation about how David isn’t his father and shouldn’t hurt himself and Amalia because he doesn’t listen and is so stubborn. It was a good scene, but it felt a bit like it was stuffed in for the purposes of reaching the happy ending, and while one would anticipate that kind of scene leading to at least a chapter of introspection on David’s part, and adjusting his worldview, that doesn’t really happen, and instead, the happy ending between himself and Amalia happens in the next chapter. While I still feel the ending worked and didn’t have a truly negative impact on the novel overall, I feel that it may have benefited from perhaps another chapter or two so the happy ever after didn’t feel quite so rushed.

But, overall, this book was so amazing and a great read, and I’m so happy to have read it!

rating4 STARSabout the author

18443358Felicia Grossman is a historical romance writer, originally from Delaware, who now lives in the rust belt with her spouse, two children, poorly behaved puppy, and perpetually disappointed elder dog. She is an RWA member (NEORWA chapter), Broadway nerd, and lover of eclairs. Her high school superlative was “most salacious,” and she hopes her books live up to that title. She can be found on twitter at @HfeliciaG and her website is https://feliciagrossmanauthor.com.

buy links

Amazon
Barnes & Noble

review by nicky tyler

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s