Modern English by Rachel Spangler

What was the book about?
Lady Victoria is the daughter of the duke of Northland, whose castle is being used as the set for the movie adaptation of Emma Volant’s book (we met Emma in Full English). Sophia LeBlanc is the star of the film, who would much rather be directing it instead of having to endure the unimaginative shots from the official director, whose only talent is in the power of his name (or, rather, his father’s). Vic and Sophia’s first meeting starts off quite literally as a duel, a duel of wills that goes on and on as they get to know each other.

Featured Tropes
Ice Queen, Celebrity, Opposites Attract

Book Strengths

THIS BOOK! WOW! Do you ever read a book and when it comes time to write the review you just don’t know if you can do the book justice? That’s how good this book is.

It’s not often I enjoy a sequel more than the original, but I did with Modern English. Don’t get me wrong, Full English (book 1) is an excellent book, but Modern English was everything I was looking for, Fun, Flirty and hot as hell. In my review for Full English back in 2019, I asked for Lady Vic to have her own story and boy did Rachel Spangler deliver.

The character journey was excellent, and I was swept up in the grandeur of Penchant castle. Spangler penned her descriptions of the landscape well, and a few times I could almost feel like I was home in Scotland.

Lady Vic and Sophia’s meet-cute was fantastic and set the book’s tone and their intense chemistry from the very beginning. And let me just say, that the scene with Lady Vic riding the horse… Yum!! Look out for that moment. You are going to want to take it all in.

It’s been a while since I have been so emotionally invested in a book. Lady Vic’s sense of honour to her legacy, even when that legacy itself was not in support of her lifestyle, was beautiful. Vic was such a amazing character to read especially in her moments of vulnerability with Sophia.

The book’s ending was pretty magical, and I went through a box of tissues, but then came the epilogue and the ending had nothing on the that. Queue more Kleenex. The epilogue was just #perfection!

I know I’ve said it before but I’m very character-driven. If I don’t fall in love with the characters, or at least get a crush on one of them, I won’t enjoy the story as much. No worries here, I loved both, for so many reasons and in so many ways. I’m actually impressed by how layered Spangler managed to make them when they seem so straightforward, so standard at first glance. The daughter of an English duke and an American actress who grew up poor in Louisiana, how many romance novels following this formula or a similar one have we read in recent years? And yet, Spangler writes a wholly fresh story, with characters I don’t feel I’ve already read about dozens of times.

What each first sees and thinks of the other is wrong despite making sense. I, as a reader, kept being surprised by what I learnt about both of them. Neither is as easy to read as they seem. This could also partly be because neither is exactly who she thinks she is either. They – and Sophia in particular – think they’re very different, but they actually aren’t. The word that keeps coming to mind for each is “strong”, as in strong-willed and headstrong.

Where they really differ is in how they got to be who they are. Their journeys so far are complete opposites: Sophia had to fight – choose between demons, as she puts it, often reminding everyone how dark her soul is – all the way to where she is and keeps fighting to move forward to where she wants to be. On the surface, Victoria seems to have had everything handed to her as a birthright but with a sense of duty and responsibility which has, so far, stopped her from living her own life. Both situations come with their own set of problems, so widely contrasting that comparisons are pointless.

It shows in their demeanour: Victoria is very polite and deferential whereas Sophia is – whenever she can get away with it – very in-your-face. One of the first things we find out about her is that she never apologises. The first time she said it, I felt sorry for her. There’s a lot of power in knowing when you’re wrong and taking responsibility. And yet she has a point: women apologise way too much and, more often than not, for all the wrong reasons. That’s one of the lessons Vic will learn with her.

Rachel Spangler does a wonderful job of describing the weight of responsibility Victoria lives with, Sophia’s bitterness at having had to fight every step of the way, and how life experiences so staggeringly different, each at opposite hands of the scale, seem irreconcilable until a shift of point of view shows them to complement each other.

I have to admit that Vic’s sense of honour brought tears to my eyes more than once, as did her raw pain and Sophia’s ultimate selflessness.

I also really want to mention the cover, by the incomparable Ann McMan, and the acknowledgements. I always love well-thought acknowledgements – and really miss them in audiobooks – but these are even more special. Read them. You’ll see.

Character Chemistry

The chemistry between Lady Vic and Sophia is sizzling from the get-go. When they hit the sheets, I was worried the whole castle would go up in flames because it was incredibly hot.

There is an intimate, almost vulnerable underlying chemistry there that is based on trust. Both Sophia and Lady Vic share things with each other they never have with anyone else. It was making me all swoony!

On Vic’s side, it’s a classic case of instalust but beyond Sophia’s perfect body, what makes Vic crave her is her fire, her passion, her drive. What first begins as a game for Sophia soon becomes genuine when she realises how disarming Vic is. She’s not only sexy, but she’s also adorable. Together they’re like fire and ice but neither is only fire or only ice. Together they’re like an explosion of senses and feelings.

Heat Rating
🔥 🔥 🔥 🔥 

Wrap up

This book was made for cinematic viewing. The BBC need to contact Rachel Spangler immediately and option Full English and Modern English. I can’t wait for book three in the series because Rachel Spangler has just upped the ante.

When I read Full English a couple of years ago, I wrote that it may be my new favourite book by Rachel Spangler. I’m a sucker for romance novels in which one of the MCs falls in love not only with the other MC but also with where they live. Beautiful scenery and scones, I mean, who could resist? I think, however, that Full English just lost its place to its sequel. 


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