Hattie Greenfield is many things: She attends Oxford where she is studying painting; She is a loving sister and dutiful daughter; She chafes under the close eye her father keeps on her; She is a dedicated suffragist. While the rest of her family are all astute at business and investments, Hattie hasn’t a clue about that. Her world is art. That is why she ditched her bodyguard and managed to sneak away from Oxford to attend an art tour that was featuring a painting she dearly wanted to see in person. What a fateful decision that was! She meets the owner of the exhibit and he kisses her soundly because he mistakes her for someone else. OOPS!
Lucian Blackstone’s reputation is definitely not a good one. Rumor says he’s ruined more than one peer and who knows what else he may have done. He is reclusive and few have ever even seen him. However, Lucian wants to change that reputation because he wants to be able to have more influence in order to make the changes he wants to see in the country. He needs relationships with men who have more influence than he does, so he can meet other men with more influence. Then, the perfect solution drops right into his lap – in the form of Miss Hattie Greenfield. Her showing up to see his painting gave him the perfect idea – he’d marry her – after all, kissing her was certainly not a chore.
Hattie and Lucian square off from the beginning, and it was fun to watch them fall for each other despite their best efforts not to do so. Both hold tightly to past hurts and secrets and overcoming the lack of trust will be a major stumbling block. Their romance kept me engrossed until about the 93% mark and then I was done with Hattie. Frankly, I was wishing Lucian would leave her totally alone and find someone who would really love him and appreciate him for who he is.
This was my first read by this author and I was really sorry to find it just isn’t my cup of tea. I was really looking forward to a more romantic read and what I got was a treatise on how great socialism/communism is as well as an introduction to some very rabid feminists. When I say rabid feminists, I am referring to the female leads in the first two books of the series – and I didn’t read those – and won’t from what I saw in this book. I love a book with a strong, intelligent female lead, but those two are total shrews. I’d say I liked 65-70% of this book, but the rest I just really, really didn’t like at all.
While I won’t recommend this book – because I wouldn’t read it a second time – I will say that there will be lots of readers who will read it and love it. Perhaps you’ll be one of those. I was not.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.