One Night in Hartwood

 One Night in Hartwood
Author: Emma Denny
Publisher: Mills & Boon
Release Date: November 17, 2023
Genre(s): M/M Historical
Page Count: 352
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5 

Read book blurb here

Set in 1360 England, a wedding has been arranged and brothers Ash and Rafe are escorting their sister Lily to her nuptials. However, the groom William de Foucart disappears before the wedding occurs, and and as he is returning home, Rafe comes upon a man in the forest, Penn. Over the first part of the book, as the two begin traveling together they learn to depend on one another, while fighting their growing feelings for one another. 

Remember the TV series House and Dr. House's credo: "Everyone lies"?  Because Penn is lying, Rafe is lying, and things are not as they seem. Penn and Rafe are richly drawn characters and the author does a very good job of showing rather than telling how these two very different men navigate their feelings. However, the first 1/3 of the book involves Rafe and Penn in the forest, huddling together for warmth on the cold nights due to several unlikely plot devices that force them together. At over 350 pages, the book seems a bit bloated at times. 

Otherwise, the plot held my interest throughout the book and the secondary characters are nicely fleshed out, although the big problem with the Earl Marcus de Foucart ends up being much ado about nothing. This is the author's debut novel and the book has good bones, plus Rafe's brother Ash has an intriguing past, and I hope the author continues this series to include his story. 3.5 stars. 

I received an ARC from the Publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.

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