Cover Image: What Happens in the Ballroom

What Happens in the Ballroom

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Historical romance. Regency-era England. Book 2 of the Designing Debutantes series. Widowed Eliza knows that her late husband who died in battle was a waste of space, but we really hit it home here in this book. Nathaniel, an earl, and her husband’s best friend has tasked Eliza and her sisters with polishing up his young widowed ward for the marriage mart. However, we suspect early on that the ward (and her two year old son) are not exactly as they seem and may be holding onto some major secrets there. The romance part of the story was relatively uncomplicated, with Eliza and Nathaniel falling easily into lust, embraces, and an affair. The main issue is that Nathaniel is keeping secrets and Eliza is unwilling to trust a man, after being treated poorly by both her father and her late husband. Overall an enjoyable book, even if you were able to guess those secrets for yourself.
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“What Happens in the Ballroom” by Sabrina Jeffries
Secrets can Damage
It took me a bit of time to get really into, that is hooked by, this story.  I am glad I persevered.  It was a rather fun Regency era historical romance with secrets galore, a bit of spice and one surprise after another.  Happy Reading ! ! 
NOTE: This review expresses my honest opinion
I received a copy of this story from the publisher via NetGalley
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This is the story of Eliza Pierce, the oldest of 3 sisters who own and manage Elegant Occasions, a business of preparing young, wealthy women enter their season. She is a widow, childless and the brains behind the operation of the enterprise. The H, Nathaniel Stanton, Earl of Foxstead, recently returned from continental Europe after serving years in the British Army. He brought with him his ward, Jocelin March, a widow with a child Jimmy. His main goal is to marry her off to a titled man so she needed to learn how to act like a Lady and to be introduce to the ton; hence the hiring of Elegant Occasions.

I like the premise of the story (family secrets that may lead to either ruination or triumph). I like the camraderie among the sisters - they show their unique characters and they aren't afraid to call out people or situations. I like Nathaniel's determination and stubborness to protect his ward at all cost. What I don't like are scenes between the H and h. There is no build-up of Romance. Heck, there is no romance at all! They didn't even get to know each other before being all over each other. I get it that neither wants to get married but you don't start an affair after meeting only a couple of times. Also they are hot and cold towards each other. There seems to be no chemistry until towards the end... and that kind of save the book for me.

This can be read as stand alone although book 1 will introduce you to the many characters found here. I give this 3.5* rounded off to 4*

Thanks to Kensington Books thru netgalley for the ARC. Everything I've written are my own opinions.
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The second book in a series about three sisters starting a party planning business, Elegant Occasions. This entry is about Eliza who is in charge of the business side of the company. She is a war widow after having an unhappy marriage with a possessive and gaslighting husband. Her husband's best friend, Nathaniel, now asks the sisters to bring his ward, a young widow with a toddler, out in society to find her a husband. Eliza is suspicious about his relationship with his ward. Something seems odd. As Nathaniel and Eliza grow closer, his deceptions are keeping them apart. Eliza has become more assertive since becoming a widow, no longer keeping quiet to avoid conflict. Nathaniel, a former rake, has to decide if he can trust those closest to him if he wants a future with Eliza. I'm looking forward to Verity's story and who this phantom man is she keeps seeing at their events.
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I'm a true Sabrina Jeffries fan. I have read everything she has written. Most of my favorites are the older series but I have to say this is up there with those. 

My only real criticism is that I like my historical romances with the majority of pages reserved for scenes between the love interest. There were lots scenes with everyone else, especially on the beginning, and I found myself wanting to skip to get to parts with the main MC and FC. 

Otherwise, it had so much to keep my attention: a young widow not afraid to take hold of man's attentions as long as it's in private, the ex-husband's bestfriend moving in though he thinks he shouldn't for a few reasons, supportive sister group that is doing as they please despite society standards, a charge that has a young child as well a messy situation/past, and best of all an MC that has to really grovel to get his lady back.
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4/5 stars
2/5 spice

A light, fun, second chance romance that features an independent widow and army vet Earl.

Second chance romance
Late husband's best friend
Working woman
Army veteran MMC
Close proximity 
Carriage scene 🌶

Eliza and Nathaniel have chemistry right from the beginning. There is little time wasted, which moves the story along quickly. They flirt and banter and are clearly attracted to each other. With Eliza being a widow and a business woman she was very up front about what she wanted and didn't hesitate to take indulge in it. 

Nathaniel was painted as a former rake, ready to take on the responsibility of marrying off his ward. We knew there was secrecy involved and as the reader, you can easily start to guess what it was that he was hiding. Regardless of the secrets, there was little drama involved between him and Eliza. He didn't shy away from his feelings for her and accepted that he wanted her for more than an affair. It was only when the secrets were revealed that they had issues. 

In the end, it was all resolved with just a little angst and the right amount of groveling. I love it when the MMC grovels...

Overall a cute, low angst, historical romance. Highly recommend for fans of second chance romance and strong, independent heroines. 

I received an ARC from Netgalley and Kensington Books. All thoughts and opinions are my own and offered freely.
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What Happens in the Ballroom is the 2nd book in the Designing Debutantes series. Even though we get to meet up with the characters from the previous book, it can easily be read as a stand-alone. It's an entertaining Regency romance with a husband's best friends-second chance at love theme. Both Eliza and Nathaniel are very likeable characters and I enjoyed their journey to a HEA.
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I am a longtime reader of Sabina Jeffries, but I am not really enjoying this Series. This, the second book in the Series, did not draw me into the story of Eliza and Nathaniel, because there really wasn't a relationship that you could watch grow. There were steamy sex scenes, but no love story. I felt there was a lot of words, but nothing much going on. But, that's just my opinion. 

I received an ARC from NetGalley and the Publisher and I am leaving this review voluntarily.
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Sabrina Jeffries is a stalwart of historicals, and I'm enjoying this new series. The relationships between the sisters are enjoyable, although some aspects to the story edge into silliness. The two leads have good chemistry, though, and I found them to be engaging and compelling.
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This is Sabrina Jeffries at her best. I finished this in one sitting and can't wait for the next book in the series. 

A young military widow, Eliza Pierce is enjoying both freedom and financial success as part of Elegant Occasions, her party planning business. When her late husband’s best friend, Nathaniel Stanton, the Earl of Foxstead, hires Elegant Occasions to help another young widow of an officer become part of high society, Eliza wonders why and why does she have such an attraction to Nathaniel when his reputation as a Rake should want her to stay away. 

Nathaniel has always been attracted to Eliza and hated watching his friend treat her so bad while they were married. After hw gets is ward married off could he have a chance with the beautiful Eliza? 

Thanks so much to the publisher for an eARC via NetGalley!
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I have been a fan of Sabrina Jeffries forever! She has not failed with this series! 
Eliza and Nathaniel  have an entwined past with  him being best friends with her now deceased  husband. He needs help for his  ward to find a husband and enlists Eliza and Elegant Occasions.  They fight a growing attraction of course. A few surprises at the end!
Excellent story with lots of characters to love! It is rare to find both H/H to both be good, true  and interesting characters usually the heroine is harder to  write but Jeffries wrote  Eliza perfect.
Can't wait for Verity and her Phantom  Fellow!!
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I loved Eliza & Nathaniel's story. It was so nice to see how Eliza became such a strong and confident woman, especially starting a business back during that time being a woman. I also loved that Nathaniel did what he could to try and make everyone happy and putting himself to the back. I loved their chemistry and can't wait for the next in the series!
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I really enjoyed this story! Even though I haven't read the first book in the series, I was no way lost of felt like I was missing something. I do now want to go back and read Diana's book and I cannot wit for Verity's story.
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I love the cover and the description and I thought I would enjoy the book more but perhaps I am growing out of these historic romance novels with superficial dialogues and sexual attraction right from the beginning that conquers all. I wish there was more focus on the character development and gradual moments of falling for each other, for their characters' strength, their morals, their kindness, their honesty or their passionate hearts. But instead it is all about sex that loses appeal to me. I am completely fine if the historic romance novels have no sex appeal at all because I do not lack that in my life. I love to relive the falling in love and the beauty of two people coming together becoming like one spiritually and physically. I think many current authors fall too quickly into a trap of superficiality and flattery rather than the substance because it is easy and quick to write and does not require much thought. 

Thanks to Netgally for a free copy in exchange of an honest review.
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I enjoyed this story of secrets and promises. Some of those secrets are pretty obvious to us readers, but others? Wow! Eliza and Nathaniel awaken each other's libidos to such an extent they have trouble going about their daily duties. Perhaps that's why Nathaniel shows poor judgement in some of his decisions, much to Eliza's fury. As she thinks to herself in the story: Men. She would never understand them. I am eagerly awaiting the final book of this series, to see what hapless man falls under the spell of the youngest Harper sister.
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I was so excited to read Eliza's story and this did not disappoint! I loved that Eliza, Diana and Verity are as strong as ever and united in helping with the social debut of Nathaniel's charge Mrs. Jocelin March. 

Eliza was a strong female who learned to stand up for herself with her husband's passing and starting a business with her sisters. I liked learning more about her and what it was like for her being with Samuel and how she became a stronger person despite his treatment of her.

I was intrigued by the secrets that Nathaniel was trying to keep from Eliza and I was not disappointed at all in the reveal. Nathaniel was a complicated man who wanted the best for both Eliza and his charge Jocelin, but didn't want to hurt either in helping with Jocelin's debut in society.

I was given a copy of this book by NetGalley and all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

4.5/5 ⭐️
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What Happens in the Ballroom (Designing Debutantes, #2) by Sabrina Jeffries 
This is the second book in this series of three sisters.  This is the story of a young military widow, Eliza Pierce.  Nathaniel Stanton, the Earl of Foxstead and her late husband's best friend hires Elegant Occasions to assist his young ward.  There is angst, secrets, attraction, heat, laughs, tears which lead to a HEA.
Reasons I enjoyed this book:
Witty Wonderful characters Romantic Happily Ever After Page-turner.
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Second in the Designing Debutantes series.  I’ve read the first one it does recap enough you can read this as a stand alone.  The series focus on three sisters.  Their mother’s affair and eventual divorce causes enough scandal they are on the edge of society.  So instead of slinking off to the country they become event planners and help introduce girls into society.  The first sister married a Duke which adds to their acceptance. 

Eliza Pierce is at 27 a young widow.  She loves working with her sisters and has no plans to remarry.  Her husband married her for her dowry but her father denied it because they eloped.  He then went to war and didn’t return leaving his wife with nothing.  Her husbands best friend Nathaniel Stanton, the Earl of Foxstead, hires Elegant Occasions to help his ward, a young widow of an officer come out into society.  She also has a sweet two year old son, who oddly refers to himself in third person when speaking. 

There is flirting between Eliza and Nathaniel and even a suggestion of an affair as would be allowed by society rules.  But Nathaniel has a lot of secrets.  Some about Eliza’s husband, others about himself and his ward.  It is a lot, although most are predictable.  I am always someone who yearns for more conversations between characters but this book has too many.  Pages and pages of talking without much happening.  Also I have a real issue with one of his big secrets because he was willing to risk Eliza and her sister’s livelihood to further his goals.

I enjoyed this story slightly more than the first in the series.  I like that Eliza is free to have an assignation as long as she is discrete.  Nathaniel comes off a bit pompous in his manner and way of talking.  But I could see the connection between the two.  Thank you to Netgalley, Zebra and Kensington Books for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.   (3.5 Stars)
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This was cute and totally Jeffries’ style with some steam, a bit of story and a light feel. Most of this author’s books have a similar theme with a smart, independent heroine and a hero who grumbles around trying not to feel his feelings. This is the second in her Designing Debutantes series, featuring Eliza, the eldest sister. She is widowed and impoverished and works in a Regency party planning business with her two sisters. Her deceased, wastrel of a husband’s best friend is her love interest and he’s a bit of a dolt. He made many dubious decisions throughout the book but the heroine didn’t put up with his shenanigans and made him work for it. There is a satisfying element to Jeffries books because we don’t ever have a damsel in distress, doormat or featherbrained heroine and the hero is usually the one putting the wrong foot forward. I prefer this dynamic because in these m/f romance, I like to relate to the heroine and put myself in her shoes. Since I am not an idiot, I don’t like idiotic FMCs. 
This story isn’t deep or angsty and is a pretty easy read. I recommend it as brain candy or palate cleansing, or for anyone who wants to dip their toe in HR but not be bogged down by history or fancy prose. I burned through this book in a day, but probably won’t remember much of it in a month. But that’s ok, I had fun.
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I’m having a hard time warming up to this new series from Jeffries about three sisters who have gone into business together providing a sort of Regency era event planning/courting service.  It’s totally unbelievable that they are engaged in commerce yet still get invited to all the high society functions.  They would be one or the other no matter that their odious father is an earl.

Add in that we know that the hero is lying about several things to the heroine and feels bad about that, but he still pursues her for an affair.  And when his lies are revealed, one of them didn’t seem to be one that could be waved away with an apology.  He used the heroine and her sisters and endangered their business on which at least two of them rely for their livelihood.

I voluntarily reviewed an advanced reader copy of this book that I received from Netgalley; however, the opinions are my own and I did not receive any compensation for my review.
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