This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Published by Indie/Self Published
Released on August 23, 2013
I grabbed this one up because I wanted to try the author and I love a good Georgian romp of a romance. This one sounded so promising with a woman plotting to get the man she wanted and in a most spectacular way. He had chased her with the intention of treating her like a prize to be won at the end of a chase; and now that she was a widow, she wanted to get some of her own back against him.
It wasn’t many pages in before I realized that while yes, this was a romp that had a certain level of playfulness to it; it was not one that I found as enticing as I would have wished mostly having to do with the obscuring of the main story line and one of the characters being beyond annoying.
I really liked a few of the intriguing side plots and read on to keep up with those, but it wasn’t enough. The irony is that while the side lines are what I found interesting; it is also true that the additional plots are part of the reason I found the book difficult to read. This book was all over the place with so many characters and scene changes that I got dizzy. Just when I was starting to get settled in and vested in the story and characters, it would switch up and dump me in somewhere else. Even in a scene, it jumped from one head to the next so each of the players had a say (and let me tell you there were several). Pacing slowed to a crawl and I just wanted it to get on with it. Nearer the end, it finally sped back up and started focusing more on the main plot line which made things infinitely better. I even started to enjoy the book enough to push through the finish and yes root for Dutton and Anne to finally resolve their sparring and get on with things.
The other and much more irritating part of it is the heroine. Egads was she difficult for me to take and that was from the moment I met her. First, Anne is one of those types who is so insecure, clingy, whiny and feeling sorry for herself that it makes my teeth hurt from grinding them. The ‘woe is me nobody ever notices me’ or ‘I want to be noticed like so and so or noticed by so and so’ was just…ugh so annoying. Then she wants Dutton, the guy who pursued her for a short term attraction and turned her world upside down, but she’s the one who walked away from their mutual- yes mutual though she won’t admit it- flirtation and married someone else. He fell off into a drunk and his misery made her happy because she enjoyed being the object of his misery. As soon as he cleans up and starts taking his estate responsibilities seriously and now goes about sober, she gets vindictive and is determined to have him drooling for her again. Okay, so I get not wanting to be any man’s short term fling, but she chose to end it and marry someone else so this whole ‘make him pay for chasing her and probably more honestly for letting her go’ just didn’t do it for me. She acted like a spoiled and petulant child. For several chapters, every conversation between the two is her being snippy and snarky and him still trying for her. She takes up a pretense with two men and uses them to cause jealousy, but she’s so bad at it that he sees right through it and keeps after her. Then she lets him in her home and gets her jollies with him before trying for the cold seductress thing of ‘I’m done now you can get out’. He was left standing outside her bedroom door banging on it and yes it now has dropped into a farce with her standing in there just so proud of herself for what I don’t know. It was so ludicrous that I just sat there grimacing. She was congratulated as the oh so powerful and wickedly seductive woman who brought Dutton to his knees and he was made to look the fool. I could see that this is meant to show both of them growing into stronger better people which the end does prove to be the case, but I just couldn’t see it that way.
I did take pleasure in the author’s writing and tone when it came to the matchmaking ex-courtesan Sophia and the shadowy man, Lord Ruan, who wanted her, the fiery Iroquois woman, Elizabeth Grey and some of the others. These story threads are left dangling for the next book.
This was not an awful book by any means. I just couldn’t find the heroine’s machinations as amusing as I presume it was supposed to be. I couldn’t find the descriptions of her fiery nature in bed engaging. Dutton wanted her and she secretly wanted him. She went from being an unsure mouse of a woman to a confident lady capable of making a strong-willed man like Dutton happy. Dutton’s transformation took place off-scene, but his road to love was the bumpy ride that was the main plot of this book. He was so bewildered much of the time even as he stubbornly made his way through the toying games that Anne played with him. So yes, not my thing, but not bad either.
Historical Romance lovers who want some spice in their romance and fun in their plots might want to try this one.
My thanks to Net Galley for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for my honest review.