Reviewed by Tori
Bearing little resemblance to her beautiful sister Rhea made it easy for Ruth to secure the job of governess to the Duke of Lyndhurst s wards. The babies are Rhea s. Rhea is dead. And Ruth s suspicions are aimed squarely at the powerful, magnificent, brooding duke.
At the very least, she means to ensure her sister’s twins are raised properly. A task she suspects is beyond the duke, who wanders away at night, comes to dinner disheveled, and stirs desires she’s never felt before.
Marcus isn’t just the Duke of Lyndhurst. He is Mars, god of war, and his nightly dinners with Ruth during which he allows her to ask him one question are his only respite from his desperate struggle with the Titans.
Little does the drably dressed, socially inept woman realize she is a constant temptation to him and he is losing the battle to resist. But if he allows her to break the chains around his heart, their love will make her a target in a fight to the death. (Goodreads)
The basis of this series is that the Gods of Roman mythology are reincarnated through birth; choosing a subject and injecting their essence into the unsuspecting child. As a fan of Roman and Greek mythology, I was instantly intrigued by this premise and requested post haste. After reading I was disheartened to find the excerpt was perhaps the most interesting part of the book.
The interesting premise and intriguing plot elements never gain a foothold and expand. This is a deliciously decorated package that when opened, lacks substance. I found no energy to the story. Everything was in it’s proper place with no true emotion or anticipation to liven it up. A dispassionate storyline which is weakened by underdeveloped plotlines, little to no suspense, and an appalling lack of mythology and paranormal aspects.
Both the hero and heroine rather mild-mannered in their outward appearance, only giving in to their emotions in their own thoughts and internal dialogue. If that energy and emotion had released into the open before the last few chapters, I would have enjoyed the story more. As it was, I felt like I was reading two separate stories about two people who just happen to exist in the same book. It was all so…polite and uneventful. I never connected to either of them and found them both rather boring.
The beginning showed promise. Ruth Simpson, our heroine, has spent her life being treated as an unpaid servant by her parents. Tired of their treatment of her and their refusal to acknowledge their grandchildren, she defies her parents by running away and applying under false pretenses to be a governess for the Duke of Lyndhurst’s twin boys. Ruth’s sister Rhea claimed the children were his and when he refused to marry her, she committed suicide. Ruth wants to be sure the babies are being treated right by the duke, that he is indeed the father, and if her sister’s death was a suicide or something worse. I thought to myself here is a heroine defying the odds and society to make her own way.
Once she applies to the Duke’s household it all goes downhill. First off, she applies as a governess. While I can understand why, it gives her a higher standing in the household, the twins aren’t even a year old. Children usually didn’t need a governess until it was time to educate them. As they were boys, chances are they would stay with their nursemaid(s) until a tutor was hired. Of course the Duke knows this but allows her to stay in a pseudo nursemaid capacity another nursemaid arrives.
From here we are saturated with a cinderella style storyline punctuated by choppy repetitive narrative, painstaking descriptions of minute details, and unbelievable scenes. The Duke, Marcus, is drawn to Ruth from the first time he meets her even though he himself disparages her looks. Already suffering the ill effects of an affair gone bad and being raked through society for his ties to Rhea and her children, you would think he would do whatever it takes to keep himself above the board.
He jumps in with both feet and begins to ‘court’ Ruth almost immediately though we don’t know why. Dinners with just the two of them, offers of clothing, and unlimited use this library. Connolly gives us explanations for all this but they aren’t believable. The dinners are acceptable because Marcus claims Ruth is a poor relation even though she was originally hired supposedly through an agency and his employees know this. The gifts of clothing are acceptable because Ruth only packed winter clothes when she ran away even though it’s spring/summer weather. Marcus claims Ruth’s vibrant personality and utter originality captivate him yet we don’t see any evidence of this. She speaks when spoken to and spends the majority of her time in the nursery or her room. The most emotion we see from her is when she feels Marcus is questioning her virtue.
More than half the book is spent watching Marcus woo Ruth and Ruth floundering around being insulted for his seemingly forward ways, fearing her seduction, hoping for her seduction, wondering if he really is the father of her sister’s children. The lack of chemistry and balance in the story made this painful reading. Add in a set of glaringly predictable plot devices inserted towards the end in order to push the romance forward and I was left disappointed about the whole book in general.