One Night is Never Enough is one of those books that I read the first time because I love the author (Anne Mallory is one of the unsung geniuses of historical romance), the second time because I loved it so much that I couldn’t stop myself from the reread, and the third-through-nth time because I still can’t figure out how to write a book that is so compelling and so so well crafted.
The story is deceptively simple – the heroine, Charlotte, is at the mercy of her father, who is basically penniless and has only one thing that holds any value…his daughter. In an insane night of gambling, dad puts up one night with his daughter against a fortune, sure that he’ll win. But he doesn’t, of course. Instead, Roman Merrick, gaming-hell owner and notorious rogue, wins. And Charlotte, utterly noble—even in the face of her horrid father’s horrid decisions—accepts her fate. The rest of the book, you can imagine…Roman and Charlotte fall in love. But it’s not nearly as simple as you’d think.
What Anne Mallory does better than anyone writing romance today is this: She makes falling in love feel at once breathlessly intense and nearly excruciatingly deliberate. During the night they spend together, Charlotte and Roman while away the hours in his bedchamber, playing chess. The scene takes a long time – nearly 30 pages. There is no smooching. No sex. Only chess and conversation. And at the end, you feel rewarded and exhausted…as though you’d just read the greatest love scene ever written. And perhaps you have.
Basically, the takeaway here is – One Anne Mallory book is never enough. Lucky for you, there are a few.