Review: Clare London – Romancing the Ugly Duckling (Dreamspun Desires)

51y6H6ZFObL._SX302_BO1,204,203,200_Author: Clare London
Reviewer: Barb
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary

Rating: ★★★★½ 

Summary:

Is this the makeover of a lifetime?

Ambitious fashionista Perry Goodwood lands the project of his dreams—track down a celebrity family’s missing brother in the Scottish Highlands and bring him back to London for a TV reality show. But first he must transform the rugged loner into a glamorous sophisticate.

Greg Ventura has no use for high fashion. He lives on the isolated island of North Uist to escape the reminder that he’s nowhere near as handsome as his gorgeous brothers and avoid the painful childhood memories of being bullied.

Greg wants nothing to do with city life, and Perry’s never been outside London. When Perry is stranded on North Uist, this conflict seems insurmountable. But Greg is captivated by the vivacious Perry, and Perry by both the island and his host. However, Perry’s one heartfelt wish remains: that ugly duckling Greg fulfill his potential as a swan.

Review:

Oh my! This was a delightfully uplifting story from beginning to end. Granted I’m a sucker for the Dreamspun Desires series and I’m a huge fan of fairy tales and happy endings, my interest was piqued when I saw that Clare London was doing a story based on the Ugly Duckling fairy tale.

Perry Goodwood finally has a chance to prove himself to his boss at a London public relations firm when the Ventura brothers seek help to bring their black sheep brother, Greg, back from Scotland so he can participate in a reality TV show with them. Of course, the odd, ugly duckling of the family will need a major makeover in both his looks and his disposition, but Perry is up to the task. He has to be—because failure is not an option for him. His former lover left him destitute, and not only is he in debt, but his mother’s funds were jeopardized as well so he has to do this job and win a promotion, no matter what else happens.

But when he arrives in Scotland, soaking wet and seasick from the ferry ride to the Uist Isle location, he needs every ounce of courage he can muster to face the large, handsome man who greets him at the door. Yes, handsome! Not an ugly duckling at all—except in the opinion of his brothers. What Perry finds is someone totally different from what he expected, often obnoxious, but never deliberately mean. He also finds someone with a great sense of humor and verra kissable lips.

Over the course of the few weeks Perry spends there, he breaks down the distrust of the village people, his naturally gregarious personality winning friends wherever he goes on the island. But it’s not until the night before he’s called back to London that either man realizes just how much their feelings have developed and how far they have come toward a major life change, and when Perry suddenly disappears in a storm, Greg faces what the loss will mean for him.

Throughout this entire story, there were interesting characters, lighthearted situations, fun times, sexy times, and opportunities for growth for both men. There was never a time when I felt I’d be disappointed to continue reading. In fact, I put aside necessary work so I could keep reading and enjoying every moment. The dramatic ending in London was everything I’d hope for in a romance novel as the author took this old-time-romance-inspired trope and ran with it to its perfect conclusion. I highly recommend this one to all lovers of MM romance. And if you think you might like a peek at a big, strapping, handsome man who thinks he’s an ugly duckling, take the chance. It’s worth it!

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