#28 A Review of Compromising Kessen by Rachel Van Dyken

One would imagine that it would be difficult to be the offspring of nobility.  High expectations abound, and it’s all too clear in today’s society that this is the case, as power and prestige in our society equal more and more scrutiny with the advent of the internet and 24/7 news.  Therefore, imagine being the subject of this scrutiny as the daughter of a nobleman, and you too would want to get as far away from it as possible.

In Compromising Kessen we are introduced to Kessen Newberry, a hard-working, polite, kind, and all around nice girl who just happens to be the daughter of England’s Earl of Newberry.  Although she gets to fortunately avoid all of this British stuffiness by living in Colorado, she is inescapably called to spend a season in London by her father, which she begrudgingly accepts in order to hold her place in her father’s successful and profitable tea company.  Her mood is about to change however, as she meets a Mr. Christian Vandenbrook, who is not only devastatingly handsome, but incredibly arrogant as well.  A business partner of her father’s, Christian is also the future Duke of Albany.  After a nightmarish turn of events, Kessen and Christian find that they must marry in one week’s time after only knowing each other for not much longer than that.  This would be much easier for Kessen to accept but for the fact that many of Christian’s habits and mannerisms irritate her, especially his hatred of Americans (although she sometimes finds it amusing).  Regardless, despite their differences they decide to give the relationship a try (knowing it will be a good business venture), and must begin to learn about each other.  What they find will definitely surprise you, as the bickering soon turns to an undying affection against all odds.

Rachel Van Dyken has done it again!  She has pulled me in to a unique and fun story that had me intrigued from the very beginning.  I think her decision to create a fusion of modern, contemporary romance with historical romance was spot on.  It contained all of the old charm of a historical romance set in the framework of modern-day.  For example, Van Dyken created a series of very “modern” activities that Kessen and Christian completed with each other in order to get to know each other better.  These included paintball, a trivia contest, and even rock climbing.  This was definitely a fun and interesting twist in the story that kept the plot moving right along.

Perhaps my favorite part about the modern/historical romance fusion is the fact that social ques from the historical fiction genre definitely made their way into the modern romance context.  One prime example of this was when Kessen and Christian were caught kissing in the garden by the paparazzi.  Obviously if this was a purely modern tale, this really wouldn’t be that big of a deal.  However, the pressure they face from this public act of affection causes the social pressure to become so great that they must marry.  This is definitely a reality in historical romance, as the social and romantic rules of the time dictated that discretion was of the utmost importance.  I definitely felt that this was a nice touch that was a tasteful homage to the rules of the past and the more elegant ways things used to be.  In all, Van Dyken’s work is fun, fast paced, and a great pleasure to read.  If you’re in the mood for a heartwarming romance that has all the great aspects of the era of great romance set in today’s fast paced world, definitely give this one a try.

4 out of 5 Stars

Compromising Kessen by Rachel Van Dyken
Astraea Press (2012)
eBook: 218 pages
ISBN: 2940013928350

Special thanks to Astraea Press for sending me my review copy!


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