Length: 63,000 words
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover: Bree Archer
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.
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Clare London took her pen name from the city where she lives, loves, and writes. A lone, brave female in a frenetic, testosterone-fuelled family home, she juggles her writing with her other day job as an accountant.
She’s written in many genres and across many settings, with award-winning novels and short stories published both online and in print. She says she likes variety in her writing while friends say she’s just fickle, but as long as both theories spawn good fiction, she’s happy. Most of her work features male/male romance and drama with a healthy serving of physical passion, as she enjoys both reading and writing about strong, sympathetic, and sexy characters.
Clare currently has several novels sulking at that tricky chapter three stage and plenty of other projects in mind... she just has to find out where she left them in that frenetic, testosterone-fuelled family home.
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Romancing the Ugly Duckling is a charming story about a man living on an island off the coast of Scotland (always wanted to visit there).
Greg Ventura is portrayed as a simple man who was bullied by his brothers for a variety of reasons, which forces Greg to leave home when he turned 21. Greg is more complex than he seems as we learn about his dreams and desires, one of which is not to return to London. It's easy to figure out why.
His brothers are a bunch of arrogant people who only search for their brother when a TV deal requires all five Ventura brothers. The brothers are written in such a way as you can feel the arrogance and snootiness roll off them.
Perry is the polar opposite of Greg. While he is ambitious, he's portrayed as not overly ambitious. He comes across as opinionated and loyal.
I like the way Greg and Perry dance around each other throughout most of the book, although I feel it dragged out a little too long. The redundant internal dialog could probably have been shorter, allowing more room to expand on life in the village in which Greg resides.
I loved the ending. Some characters make life-changing decisions where others are given their butts on a platter. It was great.
I give Romancing the Ugly Duckling a 4.5. Everyone should get a copy and read it.