Modern English by Rachel SpanglerModern English by Rachel Spangler is a fabulous lesbian romance with a royalty/celebrity pairing.

When Lady Victoria Penchant — the completely charming side character from Full English — drives home to her family’s castle, she doesn’t expect to see a bunch of people moving stuff out of there. Turns out, thanks to an American vs British date formatting misunderstanding, the Hollywood movie that was supposed to be filming at the castle later in the year is going to start filming shortly. Now, Vic has to figure out how to honour the filming contract while still allowing for tourists, since tourism season is kicking off and the village depends on it. Even worse than that migraine-inducing problem? The film’s leading lady is awfully rude to Vic, even though Vic is nothing but kind to her.   

After years of hard work and a metric tonne of sheer grit, Sophia LeBlanc has worked her way from a poverty-stricken childhood in Louisiana to fame and fortune on the silver screen. So, Sophia has no time for a pampered royal who’s never had to work a day in her life. However, when Vic shows up day after day to make sure the cast and crew have what they need, it isn’t long before Sophia starts to realize there’s more than meets the eye with Vic. They quickly fally into a super-hot, no-strings affair. It should be no big deal, right? They’re both adults and no one can get hurt. Except there’s that whole problem of feelings, Vic’s duty to her family and the region, Vic’s fear of a scandal (having been devastated by one previously), and they live wildly different lives on two different continents.

Pros And My Favourite Parts

Can I just say “almost the whole dang book,” for my favourite part? Because seriously, there’s so much to love about Modern English.

I first fell head over heels for Vic when I met her in Full English. To me, she was one of the most vibrant characters I’d come across in a very long time. I was beyond delighted to hear she was getting her own book and I’m even more delighted that Modern English does her justice. I especially appreciate how layered Vic is as a character. The confident, dynamic version of her that we met in Full English is definitely one side of her, but it was satisfying to see her insecurities, where they came from, how she deals with them, and her path forward beyond them to a new, more authentic life.

I had a harder time connecting with Sophia at first because she’s so judgy and awful to Vic. I kind of wanted to shout at her, “LEAVE MY FRIEND ALONE, LADY” (could someone get me a “Team Vic” shirt already, please?). While I could have used a little more of a transition between her antagonism towards Vic and their pants feelings, because it felt like Sophia’s flip switched almost out of nowhere, I was still happy because they’re so compelling together. The more they got to know and care for each other, the more I liked Sophia, and I truly felt they were worthy of each other in the end.

Cons And Heads Up

I have one problem with Modern English, and it’s that Vic’s mom is pretty awful in a few parts of this book. One scene in particular had my stomach turning, because her behaviour is so reprehensible. While I’m glad we learn why she did that later in the story, I was (and still am) bothered by the fact that she and Vic never hash any of it out. Her reason does not excuse the actions and words she chose, and although I know that kind of resolution often doesn’t happen in real life, I was craving it here because, holy shit, is Vic’s mom the worst. If toxic relationships between mothers and daughters is a trigger for you, just be aware that some of Modern English might not be the best for you, so maybe skim and/or skip past scenes they’re in together.

The Conclusion

I’ve been having a harder time connecting with romance novels lately and I was thrilled to have Modern English buck that trend! It’s sweet, without ever being treacly. Steamy and with plentiful sex scenes, yet still within the bounds of contemporary romance. And who doesn’t want to read about royalty plus a Hollywood star at a freaking castle? Oh yeah, and a couple of characters from In Development make an appearance! If any of these things are interesting to you, I highly recommend you check it out.

Excerpt from Modern English by Rachel Spangler

[Vic] bounded up two more stairs and into a formal sitting room. Looking left, then right, she didn’t see any more removal employees. She didn’t see anyone at all. Childhood games of hide and seek had taught her one of the downsides to living in such a large estate was that one could end up running in circles all day without encountering the person they sought. The best course of action often involved staying put and, given that her family’s belongings all seemed to be flowing down the stairs, this seemed as good a place as any to make a stand.

At least all the remaining furniture seemed in its place. Not that she would know for sure, as she didn’t spend much time here. Mostly the room was set up for official tours. She certainly wouldn’t want to sit on any of those fancy chairs, or . . . her gaze fell on an old umbrella rack in the corner. She didn’t have to know the space well to know the walking stick standing upright in the bin didn’t belong there. She picked up the staff and suffered an untimely bit of nostalgia. Her grandfather had carved the wood with a silver knife while she sat beside him and listened to her grandmother read.

Her grandmother.

Her eyes darted around the room until they fell on the bare patch of wall where her rapier should have hung. Her blood boiled. None of the furniture had been personal, and even the prospect of a stranger running roughshod over her home didn’t compare with the rage she felt at the thought of anyone touching that sword.

Hide-and-seek strategy be damned, she was ready to release the proverbial hounds when she spun around and saw the tip of a metal hilt sticking out of a brown cardboard cylinder. It took her two steps to reach it, and in one grand flourish she unsheathed the blade.

God help whoever’d tried to make off with this. She gave a quick flick of her wrist and relished the whoosh the metal made as it slashed the air.

“Unhand the sword,” a firm voice ordered from behind her.

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