Barbara’s rating: 3.5/4 of 5 stars
Series: The Penhallow Dynasty #3
Publication Date: 4/24/18
World’s coldest heiress meets world’s most likable hero – how in the world can this ever work? It can, and it is lovely to see. This is a well written and well-plotted book with a lovable hero and a heroine you will love to hate – at least for a fair amount of the book.
Hugo Penhallow is a much-loved member of the prestigious Penhallow family. He’s not a peer, but his family name is so revered that he might as well be a duke. Hugo’s immediate family – mother, sister and three brothers – are impoverished. His father had spent his life on research rather than providing for his family and now things were getting really bad. Hugo, an army captain, was injured in the America’s (Canada) and had to leave the service. He had been sending a portion of his income to his mother and his cousin Gabriel had also granted Hugo’s mother a stipend. Hugo thought that was enough to get by until he got home and saw the state of affairs. Hugo loved his family beyond reason. They were just a loving, caring, involved family – all of them – and Hugo couldn’t stand to see them impoverished. It was his responsibility to care for them. Before he’d arrived, he’d already decided to look up Katherine Brooke (a very wealthy heiress) who he remembered fondly from his childhood and ask for her hand in marriage. It would be a marriage of convenience only because he had never fallen in love and just assumed that he never would.
Katherine Brooke hardly remembers her childhood before her father inherited all of her grandfather’s wealth. She had closed all of that away. She had been a sweet, loving child who very much enjoyed her closest neighbors – the Penhallow family – especially Hugo. She was bereft when he went away to school and then into the army. Then, her grasping, greedy, social-climbing parents inherited all of her grandfather’s wealth – they moved into a newly built garish mansion and Katherine became a pawn. Katherine was constantly belittled by her parents, nothing she ever did was good enough – she had to be absolutely perfect in everything and perfect was defined by her parents. Then she was sent to the most gosh-awful school where they were probably worse than her parents. Some readers have written reviews saying she was spoiled. Well, I don’t see it. Yes, she was provided with clothes (which she hated), jewels (which she hated) and all the luxuries. The clothes and jewels weren’t of a style she would have preferred and she was denied any of the luxuries that were important to her. She was like a bird in a cage – lovely but denied all freedoms. Her parents were cold, boorish and very unloving – her only use to them was to provide them a social status when she married. All she wanted was to get away – to be alone – and she saw her chance when Hugo Penhallow called at her home.
After Hugo meets Katherine again, he wonders where the lovely little Kate he knew had gone. She had been replaced by a shrew. When she proposes to him, they strike a bargain that can only bring unhappiness to both of them. However – she needs her freedom and he needs her money so they strike the bargain made in hell.
Hugo doesn’t change throughout the book. He is always calm, caring, devoted to his family, happy, cheerful, etc. Katherine, however, is like a caterpillar coming out of its cocoon as a lovely butterfly. It takes her a while, it doesn’t happen overnight – and she has setbacks along the way, but, in the end, it is a lovely thing. It would have been nice to see a bit of temper from him on occasion – but then — I guess that wouldn’t have been what Katherine needed from him.
This wasn’t an ‘exciting’ book that kept you turning the pages to see what would happen next. There were no real villains (other than her parents) who were trying to create havoc. It also had surprisingly little angst – given Katherine’s history. It was a slow and steady read with a constant growth to our heroine.
I particularly liked senor Rodrigo, the parrot. He was delightful and added a nice bit of humor. Another thing I liked was telling part of the story through the family letters. It was lovely to see the inner thoughts of the other family members – particularly the twin boys who were at school.
This book is part of a series, but can easily be read and understood as a stand-alone.
Please check out my reviews at:
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/flippinpages…
“I requested and received this e-book at no cost to me and volunteered to read it; my review is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or publisher.”