Reviewed by May
“There is little more disappointing than a man who looks like he will know what he is about, then one discovers he does not understand the subtleties. It would be such a waste if after all of Ambury’s practice, he were such a man.”
Cassandra is a fiercely independent woman with an overbearing jerk of a brother. Not only does he want to dictate who she marries, but he also wants to lock away their beloved aunt. As Cassandra adores her aunt, lives with her in fact, she is trying to come up with a solution to her issues with her brother. The last thing she wants is trouble with Viscount Ambury, and yet he won’t pay for the earrings he purchased from her at auction and he keeps showing up where she least wants him.
I am tempted to fail this book, the only thing that prevents me from doing so is that Madeline Hunter is a talented writer and it was my personal dislike of the characters rather than her storytelling that has me wanting to drop the grade of this book so severely. It wasn’t just that I disliked them, but I felt that they were written in a way that didn’t seem to be intentionally setting out to make them so offensive to me.
“You are my wife. I am responsible for your actions. I need to know what you have done, whether you think it a good idea or not.”
Ambury is not my kind of leading man. He bothered me, and actually creeped me out in fact. From the start he has sexual fantasies about the heroine and feels this is ok because she is of questionable reputation and is worldly according to gossip and her reputation. In other words it isn’t just that he finds her attractive, he justifies his thoughts because she isn’t really a lady. He plays that virgin/whore game where he thinks of her one way but defends her honor in a manner opposite to the way he thinks of her. He defends her to others and yet he is thinking of how she wronged his friend years ago and is a silly woman who is no longer an innocent. His thoughts, in other words, don’t line up with his actions. He was really domineering and also withholds information from our heroine because he deems it appropriate. What I am really saying here, is that he seemed to be the kind of sexist pig that while might be historically more accurate for an English gentleman is not the kind of guy I want to read a story about.
Cassandra seems like an independent thinking and intelligent woman but I found myself questioning this as well. Her brother is not just an ass, but a danger to both her and her aunt. Instead of having a plan of action she seemed to be kind of bumbling around hoping to work something out. She is surprised when her brother elevates his harassment – how can she be? While I applaud her for not falling into her brother’s trap several years prior I didn’t find much else to like about Cassandra. The pieces just never really added up for me and she never convinced me that she was anything but a silly, immature girl who is playing at being a woman.
The combination of the “beautiful and headstrong” Cassandra with the overly dominant and exceedingly proper know it all Viscount Ambury grated on my every nerve. I never did figure out why they are attracted to each other beyond a physical lust, nor did I believe theirs was a tale of true love.
I will say that this book had a nice brisk pace, and scenes were well done even if I did not enjoy the characters within. The bottom line really simply is that on no level did this book work for me.