About the Book:
Title: The Dane of My Existence
Author: Jessica Martin
Series: A Bard’s Rest Romance #2
Page Length: 352
Publication Date: July 4, 2023
Synopsis: Portia Barnes is the youngest Mergers & Acquisitions partner in her law firm’s history, and she and her stilettos are poised to step into the role of her dreams–managing the firm’s new Boston office. But first she’s taking a summer sabbatical in her hometown of Bard’s Rest, New Hampshire, where she discovers something’s rotten in the midst of the town’s annual Shakespeare festival.
Hotshot commercial developer Benjamin Dane is sniffing around Bard’s, and while Portia isn’t necessarily a Shakespeare fanatic like the rest of her family, she’s not about to let him bulldoze the town’s beloved outdoor theater. Yet to Portia’s dismay, Ben proves as skilled as she is when it comes to outworking, outmaneuvering, and one-upping the competition. While she’s never hesitated to wage war against hyper-successful alpha males, Portia is caught off guard by Ben’s openness and lack of arrogance. As her own long-constructed walls start to come down, Portia begins to wonder if he might be more than an archnemesis.
With her heart on the line and the future of the town hanging in the balance, Portia faces an impossible decision–Ben or Bard’s?–unless she finds a way to broker the merger of her life, and ensures the curtain falls on a happy ending for everyone.
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I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about The Dane of My Existence because Portia did not really endear herself to me in For the Love of the Bard. I’m so glad I read it anyway. We learn a lot about Portia, and I think it was great to get her perspective. Yes, she’s a flawed character, but I like how she owns her mistakes, especially the mistakes she made when she was younger.
Portia is different from her sisters and family. She is not as emotional and willing to share her feelings, she keeps people at a distance and hates appearing vulnerable, and she doesn’t like Shakespeare. An attorney, she is dedicated to her job but doesn’t have room for much else. I think going on a mandatory sabbatical was the best thing that could have happened to Portia. Going home to Bard’s Rest, spending time with family and friends, and meeting a new potential love interest shows Portia that there’s more to life than work. It also makes her realize how much she loves her family, her hometown, and helping others. She’s definitely not the ice queen she presents herself to be.
Ben is more than meets the eye too, and I appreciate how layered he and Portia’s characters are. I also love how they open up to and confide in each other. Their relationship is filled with chemistry, and the verbal sparring is excellent. I love when the main couple has good banter, and Portia and Ben have it in spades. Though they experience conflicts of interest, misunderstandings, and more, their attraction to and feelings for each other are obvious.
The secondary characters are great too, and you’ll recognize many from the first book as well as some new residents and visitors. And the shenanigans they get into are so funny! I wish Bard’s Rest were a real New Hampshire town. As a New England resident, I would most definitely be heading there every year for their annual Shakespeare fest. It sounds like so much fun and a delightful way to pay homage to the Bard. You can be sure I’d visit all of the cleverly named stores, including Much Ado About Pastry and Parting is Such Sweet Gelato.
A fun story with a strong female protagonist, a charming and quirky town and cast of characters, and a swoon-worthy romance, The Dane of My Existence is an entertaining addition to the series. Special thanks to NetGalley and Berkley Books for providing me with a copy of the book. All thoughts are my own.
- The romance.
- The small-town charm.
- The Shakespeare!
Relationships were like store-bought salad dressing: artificial and full of crap that was bad for you.