Tracy’s rating: 3.5/4 of 5 stars
Series: The Gilded Age Heiresses, #1
Release Date: January 26, 2021
August Crenshaw is not your average young woman; she is smart, savvy, and deeply involved in her father’s business ventures and has no plans to stop working or change her ways to please a man. She plans to marry someday, but on her own terms. So, after watching her friend Camille forced into marriage with the Duke of Hereford, August thanked her lucky stars that her parents would never do such a thing to her or her sister Violet. But when they travel to London to visit Camille, August is horrified to learn that her parents are planning to marry Violet off to the penniless Duke of Rothschild. She is still reeling when later, she sneaks out with Camille to watch a prizefight and ends up kissing one of the fighters.
Evan Sterling, the Duke of Rothschild has inherited a mountain of debt and a failing estate, he has tried over the last year to sort things out, but it is clear that he is in over his head and must marry an heiress to save his tenants and his family from ruin. When his mother has suggested he marry Miss Crenshaw, he recalls the kiss he coaxed out of her at his fight and agrees to meet her. But to his dismay, she is not the Miss Crenshaw he wants. A thought that is further cemented when August takes him to task and warns him away from Violet by threatening to expose his fighting to society – he decides then and there – August is the one that he wants!
August is shocked to learn that her parents expect her to marry him and make it clear that if she doesn’t, she will no longer have a job in the business. But sadly, her father also makes it clear that if she marries Evan, she will not have a job either – so August is understandably angry and tries to thwart Evan at every turn – but her efforts only make him more determined to marry her! They finally make an agreement and he promised to release her from the betrothal if she will come to his estate and let him court her for a week. A HEA seems like it might be possible, but a shocking twist and some misunderstanding make things much, much harder.
I loved this book right up to the 90% mark and then it came very close to being a wall-banger for me. I thought the book was well written and paced nicely, I liked the storyline and even though I found August a bit abrasive and at times annoying, I felt her pain and anger, likewise, I felt Evan’s desperation and feelings of failure and loss. They were both great characters and I loved the banter between them, and the undeniable chemistry – this book was a five-star read until the end ruined it for me – the ending sucked – the book that had been nicely paced up until this point went into hyperdrive with TWO misunderstandings, followed by a quick resolution and then BOOM! it was over – not even an epilogue to let the reader get a little taste of their HEA – it was disappointing. This is the first book in a new series and despite my disappointment with this book’s ending – I did enjoy most of the book and will certainly be looking forward to the next installment.
*I am voluntarily leaving a review for an eARC that I requested and was provided to me by NetGalley and the publisher. *