Barbara’s rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Publication Date: 5/28/20
Number of Pages: 368
This was my first time reading a book by this author and I thought the writing style was good, but the pacing seemed a little slow, the scene transitions sometimes seemed a little abrupt and it felt a bit – unfinished. I had a hard time coming to like Eleanor – it wasn’t that I disliked her – it was more that I didn’t come to care about her. I found her to be flighty, gullible, judgmental and constantly jumping to the wrong conclusions – especially about Peter. Peter wasn’t my favorite hero either, but I think the story gave me a better understanding of him than it did of Eleanor.
Both of Eleanor Mitcham’s parents were scholars who were wrapped up in each other and their scholarly work. Eleanor was always an afterthought with them. When they died, she wasn’t even an afterthought – she was left totally destitute. Rather than living with relatives, she decided to seek out a position as a paid companion. Unfortunately, the woman who employed her was a spiteful, vindictive, mean-spirited old woman who didn’t appreciate anyone or anything. One of the few bright spots in Eleanor’s employment was when her employer’s nephew came to visit. He was intelligent and made her laugh. Even though she never considered there could be anything between them, she still enjoyed his visits – until her employer accused her of ‘setting her cap’ for him and forbid her from speaking to or even being in the same room as him during his visit.
Peter, Earl of Lavenham, grew up in an unhappy household. His parents constantly used him as a pawn and he soon understood that marriage was not a good or happy thing. It was definitely something that would never happen to him – he’d never marry. Until… he went on a visit to his aunt and found that she’d forbidden Eleanor from having any interaction with him at all. How dare she! What was his solution? He immediately proposed to Eleanor. Because of his pride, he botched the proposal horribly by making it sound temporary and businesslike. He was astounded when she very firmly declined his offer.
Eleanor fled her employer’s home that very night – out into the cold and fog – and the misadventures begin. You have manipulative duchesses, pretend princesses, fake major domo’s, relatives who are users, and a very concerned earl. I began to wonder if they’d ever get their act together and then – wham – it was over. I would have preferred to see a little less time with the duchess and a good bit more time at the end. I felt a bit as if I’d been left hanging. I’d have liked to see the wedding and maybe an epilogue showing that he really could be happily married to one woman.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.