Reviewed by May
Favorite Quote: “I hope to sleep with you soon. In my experience sex is an excellent prelude to an association.”
Gideon, Duke of Wynfield, is on his way to sign an agreement with a new mistress. First though, he stops at a party held by a dear friend where events lead him to be not only without a mistress, but in possession of a diary written by a woman he barely knows – but apparently has been busy penning erotic adventures between them in her diary.
Charlotte Boscastle is mortified. Her diary is missing and her daydreams and wicked thoughts about the Duke she’s only just properly spoken to this very night could be in the hands of someone wishing her damage. As the headmistress of a finishing school for young ladies, and a member of a powerful (but scandalous) family, she simply cannot allow this. Little does she know she’s about to wind up in the arms of the Duke, caught, and pushed into a speedy courtship and marriage.
“I embellished the truth in a few places. I wanted to write my life as a fairy tale. I never intended for anyone else to read it. It’s not all fabricated.”
“Fabricated? Embellished? My angel of mischief, not even the names were changed to protect the guilty. But I have to admit I’m curious – how long have we been engaged in this affair?”
“A year,” she whispered, sighing over the top of her fan.
His eyebrows shot up. “All that time and you never told me? Where exactly did it start?”
“At a circulating library,” she confessed with a smile.
He smiled back and pried the empty glass from her hand. “I wish I’d known. At the very least I would have sent you flowers to commemorate our anniversary.”
The problem is, someone has taken the diary from the Duke and now not only are they caught alone (and must marry) but also figure out who has the book, why, and how can they get it back without it going public?
There is so much to love about this book. The witty dialogue and the fantastically paced writing, the characters who sparkle and come to life on every page and the fantastic tension between our leading lady and her hero.
“I didn’t mean to forget my manners. Let me go about this the proper way.”
“She stared at him in suspicion. “The proper way?”
“Excuse me while I untie your robe,” he said tugging the sash apart.
She went still. “You demon, I don’t believe your audacity.”
“And pardon me for loosening the drawstrings of your night rail.” Which he did with ease.
She gasped and the sound drew his attention to her mouth. “you are utterly-“
“And do forgive me while I gaze upon your hidden charms in the firelight.”
This book was a romance tale at its finest. It had me from page one, line one:
It was the best of balls; it was the worst of balls.
Oh yes, we were off and running with a ball and a meeting that started out as obligation to be kind to a friend’s cousin and ended in matrimony. I was so impressed with this book that by 50% through the book I ran and downloaded three of the author’s backlist so that when I finished I’d have more to read.
It was not a perfect read for me, but I can’t explain fully without spoilers so I will just say that everything in the plot came together and fit into nice neat little squares. Everything just kind of lines up and works out without any effort on our character’s part. As a reader this takes some of the fun out of a book for me, I truly wish she’d given us a bit more drama or angst or some kind of contrast to the super gentle everything works out ending. They were so worked up over this diary and the school and her place – not to mention the mystery of who had the diary – that it really let me down how everything was resolved.
This was my first book by Jillian Hunter, but most certainly not my last. It was a delightful read full of dialogue that was a true treat, characters I enjoyed and rooted for, and details I won’t soon forget.