Release Date: 05/02/17
*I am voluntarily leaving a review for an eARC provided to me by NetGalley and the publisher*
Michael, Earl of Wainwright aka the Lord of Pleasure is tired of being the subject of gossip and caricature etchings. He has made a bet with his friends that he can clean up his image and stay out of the scandal sheets for 40 days.
Camellia Grenville is the perfect daughter, quiet, unassuming, peacemaker and wallflower. But Camellia has dreams that do not include marrying the perfectly respectable, staid and well to do Mr. Bost – the man her parents have decided would be perfect for her.
When her sister is unable to attend the scandalous masquerade held by the infamous Duke of Lambley – Camellia rashly decides to take her place and so begins an adventure that will change her life. Camellia is accosted as she enters the ball and is saved by a masked man – Michael aka Lord X, they spend the evening together and thanks to anonymity of the masks – they share their secret desires and dreams – up to a point. When Camellia aka Lady X has to leave, Michael begs her to return for the next masquerade and she agrees.
Back in her real life, Camellia keeps running into Michael – a man she detests and takes every opportunity she can to tell him what she thinks of him. Michael is taken aback by this mousy woman, one of the few women he has ever met that doesn’t fall at his feet. In his attempts to evade scandal, he has had the misfortune of running into Camellia and he is beginning to understand that while his reputation is grossly exaggerated – it is not entirely undeserved. He wants to be a better man and his meetings with Lady X have made him want to be a better man for her.
Michael is not perfect – he often speaks without thinking about the ramification his words might have, but once he realizes his error – he really makes an effort to set things right. I really liked him and thought that he sincerely wanted to change and I believe he succeeded. I personally found Camellia a bit too judgmental, she was fiercely loyal to her family and had their best interests at heart – but I felt like she was incredibly rude and even mean to Michael, especially when he had not really done anything wrong.
When their identities are finally revealed – Camellia decides that Michael’s tarnished reputation will ruin her sisters chances for good marriages and walks away from him. A HEA will not be simple for these two, but when they finally get it – it is really lovely.
While I liked the book, I agree with other reviewers – the whole mask thing was a bit over the top – that they kept running into each other, yet don’t realize it, was unbelievable. The book was well written and flowed well, but I didn’t really care for Camellia’s sisters and I never really forgave Camellia for her treatment of Michael. But the ending was great and made me love Michael all that much more!