A while back I read and reviewed another book by J & L Wells, Untimely [my review]. When the author reached out to me to read another of their work, I jumped at the chance to read Disturbingly Beautiful. [goodreads review]
Nell Dodsworth is a young governess without a child to look after and in need of a letter of recommendation to help her escape the painful memories trapped in the manor she calls home. When the young master of the manor instead of granting her request confesses his love for her, Nell must stand strong and learn to listen to her heart. Nell's adventure is one of heartache, love, and self discovery. Through her accidental use of time travel where she meets a broken man looking to save himself through his time traveling, Nell learns to accept her fate and confront her suitor.
Nell's character is pretty typical for a woman in her native time period, easily influenced, mild mannered, and concerned with her modesty. As she time travels her stances change on all of those qualities and she begins to stand up for herself and even gives into her desires. It was an enjoyable character arc to read and one that felt believable, however, there were holes in it. Particularly in the time travel segments.
The act of actually time traveling was not explained nearly at all and left the reader unsure for a few paragraphs what time they were reading after the switches had occurred. Both characters that time traveled to the future from the past were also extremely accepting of the changes in the future from their time. There was very little awe and fear and both were quick to trust anyone the met in the future.
Though there was a love story, it was very light. Little to no romance, and Nell gave in to her forced destiny with the qualities of a woman of her time. Which I understand and agree with, but I was rooting for her to take charge, even if it would have been out of character.
I look forward to the second book in the series as I'm sure the author will continue to improve.