Barbara’s rating: 3 of 5 stars
Series: Stand Alone
Publication Date: 5/28/18
I really, really wanted to LOVE this book, but I just couldn’t get there. I am sure it would appeal to the majority of historical romance readers, it just didn’t appeal to me and left me puzzled and with many unanswered questions – so many things that just didn’t make sense to me.
I read the premise, it sounded wonderful and I couldn’t wait to get started on it. Then, I learned that the hero, The Marquess of Wesley, is going to take revenge on Garrett, the man who won – fair and square, no cheating – Wesley’s estate from his gambling father. Wesley’s father is now deceased and Garrett will either claim the property from Wesley or Wesley can marry Garret’s cousin, Kate Holden. So, what is our hero’s first thought? He’ll ruin Kate and somehow that is going to be revenge on Garrett and it will get his property back. Right – that is both honorable and intelligent and surely Garrett is unintelligent enough to give Wesley his property back after he ruins Garrett’s favorite cousin.
Wesley’s problem never really made sense to me. Was he totally broke with nothing at all left? His father lost tens of thousands of pounds and Penndrake. Was Penndrake the only estate of the Marquessate? His mother lives in London – do they own a house there? If Penndrake was the only estate, then why in the world wasn’t it entailed? I know it is just barely possible for that to happen, but it seems highly unlikely. I understand that the father was a dastardly old jacka**, but – well, I just had a hard time with that whole entailment thing. For someone whose whole future, including his home and income, is at stake, Wesley never seems desperate to me. Not like someone who had lost everything and had no other means to live and support himself.
Miss Kate Holden fell in love at fifteen and the object of her affections was a shallow, selfish, self-centered young man named Rourke – who is Wesley’s distant cousin. Rourke married someone else and she decided to never lose her heart again. That is the set-up of the yin-yang between Wesley and Kate – she doesn’t want to marry, but she’s attracted to him – he wants to ruin her, but he’s attracted to her. That whole ‘I’m going to ruin her’ from Wesley and ‘I’ll never give my heart away’ thing from Kate went on way, way, way too long.
The characters – well – there wasn’t a worthwhile one in the lot – except the Vicar and his family. None of them would be someone you’d want to sit down to dinner with. I couldn’t really identify with either of the main characters. You have what is basically the equivalent of Cinderella’s wicked stepmother and step-sisters – but it was Kate’s distant aunt and cousins. Then there is Wesley’s stupid cousin and Kate’s cousin who is blackmailing Wesley. . . . Not a keeper in the bunch as far as I can see.
Here are a few of the things that seemed a bit odd to me. Not a whole list – just a few and I’m trying not to give too much of the plot away.
- The Marquess delivers babies?
- Wesley says he’s going to entail Penndrake to Kate’s father. . . Say what
- When Wesley took his house guests to the village to shop, they gave him the receipts/bills for their purchases and he complained about the cost of the fabric Kate’s sister purchased. Why would he be responsible for paying? It didn’t say he offered to pay – it was just written as if that were the normal way of doing things. These were well-to-do folks and could certainly afford their own.
As I said in the beginning, I REALLY wanted to love this book, but just couldn’t get there. I could buy that there was insta-lust between them, but I didn’t see the love growing because they never actually spoke. They spoke in riddles and circles, but nothing in the way of actually getting to know each other. Don’t let my experience keep you from trying it — you might love it — it has a number of 4 and 5-star reviews.
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“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.”