Romancing the Ugly Duckling (Belen’s Review)

Title: Romancing the Ugly Duckling (Romancing the… #2)
House Line: Dreamspun Desires #36
Author: Clare London and Joel Leslie (Narrator)
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: June 19th 2017
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance
Length: 7 hrs 15 mins
Reviewed by: Belen
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 4 stars out of 5


Is this the makeover of a lifetime?

Ambitious fashionista Perry Goodwood lands the project of his dreams—track down a celebrity family’s missing brother in the Scottish Highlands and bring him back to London for a TV reality show. But first he must transform the rugged loner into a glamorous sophisticate.

Greg Ventura has no use for high fashion. He lives on the isolated island of North Uist to escape the reminder that he’s nowhere near as handsome as his gorgeous brothers and avoid the painful childhood memories of being bullied.

Greg wants nothing to do with city life, and Perry’s never been outside London. When Perry is stranded on North Uist, this conflict seems insurmountable. But Greg is captivated by the vivacious Perry, and Perry by both the island and his host. However, Perry’s one heartfelt wish remains: that ugly duckling Greg fulfill his potential as a swan.

Dreamspun Desires are contemporary category romance novels, complete with your favorite heartwarming heroes, captivating plots, and exotic settings. These titles are all about happily ever afters that leave you with a satisfied smile for days.

I love a good Opposites Attract trope! When it’s mixed with a fun Fish out of Water trope, I’m in like Flynn.

Put it in Scotland and add Joel Leslie’s narration? I could (and did!) listen all day.

What’s to know? Perry Goodwood, who’s never been outside of London, is given an impossible assignment of getting the wayward brother of a celebrity family to leave his home on the isolated island of North Uist and return to London to participate in a reality series.

Only thing is Greg Ventura has no use for London or his brothers – who used to tease and torment him terribly. When Perry arrives it’s without any of the normal support he’d have from his firm and he’s alone and has to try to convince Greg to do the show.

Greg, who was always called out as the “the ugly duckling” of the family, has grown up to be the best looking of the bunch, but is still largely unaware of it. Perry, now stranded on North Uist, sets out to convince him otherwise, and in the process falls in love with both Greg and North Uist.

This is a really enjoyable story. It’s got a great setting, a wonderful cast of characters, a dual perspective from both Perry and Greg’s POV, and not a lot of angst…but what absolutely did it for me was the narration of the audiobook. I loved Joel Leslie’s Scottish accents! And while I don’t know how accurate they may be – it was a downright pleasure to listen to.

Romancing the Ugly Duckling is the second book in the Romancing the…series, and it’s the 36th book in the Harlequin Books-esque Dreamspun Desires series, but can absolutely be read as a standalone.

This is a sweet fish out of water/ opposites attract romance with terrific narration. I had a lot of fun listening to this and hope you will too!

Romancing the… series

Dreamspun Desires Series

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Review Copy

Audio copy of Romancing the Ugly Duckling provided by Dreamspinner Press in exchange of an honest review.


I am an unapologetic book addict/lover. I'm happiest when reading and I spend most of my time with my Kindle, which is never far from my hand. I love to be told a good story! I mostly read fiction: Romance, Erotica, Young Adult, New Adult, Paranormal (shifters? Yes, please!), a little BDSM when I'm in the mood, and I love a good ménage story. I DEFINITELY PREFER A HFN/HEA! My biggest no-no's are cheating, miscommunication / misunderstanding plots, unnecessary angst, and cliffhangers.

A sampling of my "Favorite M/M" stories:

Carry the Ocean The Half of Us Red Dirt Heart Adulting 101 Tied Up In Knots
Shelter the Sea Manties in a Twist David, Renewed Ethan who Loved Carter Perfect Imperfections
Wolfsong Fight the Tide How to Walk Like A Man The Lightning-Struck Heart Forging the Future