Actual rating 2.5 stars, rounding up here. When I started reading this book, I was hit by a strong sense of deja-vu. It reminded me so much of ‘Lady Bridget’s Diary’ by Maya Rodale that I just read recently! To compare:
- Wealthy American heiress descends on British society, is like a fish out of water and is very outspoken and yet adorably charming? Check.
- Two brothers (in this case twins) – older brother is the titled peer, portrayed as remote, unemotional and does not dance, and younger brother is charming rogue on the surface? Check.
- Said heiress believes she loves younger brother, but after meeting older brother can’t help but have FEELINGS about him? Check.
- Older brother is charmed by the outspoken American heiress, determines to have her for himself? Check.
This put me off at first, and I did some searching to see if anyone else had the same feeling. I came up empty on that search, so maybe it’s just me. Anyway, I kept on reading since I have read several of Eloisa James’ books, and many of them were entertaining. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much plot to speak of in this one – it’s nowhere near as good as ‘Three Weeks with Lady X’, which I loved. It had the same failing as the one about Lady Bridget – nothing much was happening other than the issue of who the heroine would end up with, and the same old story of the hero unwilling to fall in love because of REASONS.
The basic premise is Merry Pelford arrives in London after two failed engagements back home in Boston. She is a bright spirit who falls in love at the drop of a glove, and then falls out of love just as quickly. The fact that she has money which her suitors needed seems to have gone over her head. Now engaged to Cedric Allardyce, she believes that this is for real…until she meets his brother, the Duke of Trent, that is. The two men are different as night and day. Trent was the heir, and Cedric was his mother’s favorite. Now the parents are deceased, due in part to their father’s drinking (I think, or am I getting that mixed up with another book?) and Trent is determined never to succumb to the lure of alcohol, nor fall in love, since both lead to heartache. He doesn’t care about what the ton thinks of him, or if his clothes are the latest fashion, or much of anything other than the ducal duties. He’s big and muscled, more at home on his country estate than in the ballrooms of London.
He believes that Merry would make a perfect duchess, and is constantly aroused by being in her presence (and I do mean constantly dealing with an erection!). Being an honorable gentleman, however, he doesn’t want to poach his brother’s fiancee no matter how hard he gets for her. Still, they form a friendship of sorts, and he warns her that Cedric isn’t what he appears to be. His brother is actually a drunken fop, who is far more arrogant and cutting than Merry can imagine. Of course, she doesn’t believe this at first until she witnesses it first hand, and realizes that she doesn’t love him after all. Still, the wedding is going to take place because she really can’t be seen as breaking off yet another engagement.
The wedding turns out differently than Merry expects (I don’t want to spoil anyone here but I’m sure you can guess what happens), and the rest of the book deals with the aftermath of that. Along the way, Merry does mature somewhat, but the hero won’t admit he has feelings until the requisite lady in peril trope arises towards the end.
Overall, the book just didn’t do it for me. I guess after just reading so many of Kelly Bowen’s books where there was a lot more going on, this just fell flat. I looked at the reviews on Amazon, and most of them are over the top 5 stars, so I’m obviously in the minority! If you’re looking for a light read this would likely fit the bill, but it doesn’t add anything new to the romance world.