Too Good to Be True by Kristen Ashley

Two confident, blunt, kind and soulful main characters, a creepy mystery, wild family dynamics, and deep love, all in Too Good to Be True–yes please!

New-money heiress and successful-in-her-own-right Daphne meets old-money (and equally self-successful) heir to the earldom Ian when she’s invited on a nightmare trip to meet her sister’s boyfriend’s family at the old ancestral estate. The ancestral estate that’s been the scene of dramatic deaths, epic love stories, torrid affairs, and major dysfunction.

Weird things keep happening, and they only get stranger and seem to target Daphne in particular. Which really bothers Ian. As the mystery gets deeper and more sinister, Ian and Daphne work harder to solve it and Ian is hell-bent on keeping her safe.

LOVED Too Good to Be True! Ian and Daphne were both 100% blunt, forthright, take-no-sh**-from anyone. They call people out on bad behavior and don’t put up with anyone’s insults; a refreshing break from so many characters who care way too much about being polite and not causing a scene. They instantly know they can trust each other and they feel the magnetic pull but it’s not sappy—Ian’s totally up front about wanting her and she’s pretty clear she wants him too.

But all the craziness going on! That made it so much fun and made the romantic storyline even better. There’s a legit creepy mystery to solve and they work together in their hilarious ways to solve it. I’m not sure I’d go as far as to call Ian “too good to be true”—he can be heavy-handed and dictatorial, but it all comes from a good place and he’s a natural protector.

The side characters add to the interest—there’s much more than meets the eye to Lady Alcott (and even Lord Alcott comes around), Daphne’s sister and Ian’s brother grew on me (a little bit), Daphne’s stepmother Lou (close to her age) was lovely. But talk about family dysfunction—wow! I won’t go further but there are some great examples.

It takes a while for the spice but when it rains, it pours. Plenty of foreshadowing that it will be wild and it follows through!

Rating: 4.5
Steam: High
Themes and Tropes: Thriller/Mystery, Proximity, Family Dysfunction, Slow(ish) burn
Pair With: Amaretto. I never drink this but should try it after reading this book. If you’re into it, you can find some amaretto cocktail recipes here