The narrator did a good job – her voice was well suited to the book and I enjoyed listening to her. We met Lady Lucy Radley in the first and second books of the series and I really liked her, so I was looking forward to reading her story. I was so very disappointed as this book presented a Lucy I didn’t recognize in the least – nor did I recognize the rest of her family – especially her father. Everything seemed so very contrived. This book is one of the author’s first, so I’m sure her later books are better.
Avery Fox came from an abusive family and ran away at thirteen to join the military. They definitely were not of the upper classes – his father and brother were thugs and smugglers. Avery almost died at Waterloo and returned home to find that his brother had been declared the heir to the Earl of Langham (An Unsuitable Match). Avery is NOT his brother who is now missing and who caused irreparable harm to the Langham and Strathmore families. Once his brother’s body is found, Avery is declared Langham’s heir. Avery doesn’t know what his brother did to these people, but they don’t trust him in the least. In my view, Avery suffers from a version of PTSD or survivors remorse.
Lady Lucy Radley has seen her two older brothers marry in rapid succession – both for love – and that is what she wants for herself. However, none of the eligible bachelors of the ton stir her pulse in the slightest. Until she meets Avery Fox at her brother’s wedding ball. She decides she wants to help him learn the ways of society and take him under her wing. Then, things go awry when they are caught in a compromising position and their families insist on a wedding. Avery refuses – and the squabbles begin.
This could easily have been a 5-star read – the premise of the story is great and I was really looking forward to it. However, it dragged on and on and on until I couldn’t stand either character and didn’t care whether they got their HEA or not. They’d come together and I’d think – okay here we go – and then – one of them would say the tiniest thing or do the tiniest thing and the other was off. That went on forever – I was so tired of it. The book could have been condensed to half its size and been a much better read. Or, they could have had their grand epiphany much earlier in the book and then, when they go to Paris they could spend more time together tracking down the watch owner and his family. Something. There was just way, way, way too much angst in this book.
The author continues to use non-Regency terms, etc. I had thought she’d get better as she wrote more books – but – for instance – nobody – absolutely nobody – drinks tea. Then, there is the ‘ruination’ of Lucy. There were no witnesses to their kiss other than her doting, loving father and the Earl of Langham who has a vested interest in what is best for Avery. These two didn’t ask the first question – which would be totally out of character for her father who dotes on her – especially when she begged him not to force a marriage. That part of the plot just fell flat. Another incongruity – Avery had earned the rank of lieutenant yet the author constantly says he was not an officer. Lieutenant is an officer – that is the rank that is usually purchased for those second-sons of aristocrats, but Avery actually earned it.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.