Interesting Premise that Falls Apart
This book had an interesting premise, but I do not think that it was fully realized. Marriages of convenience that turn into more are common in Regency romance novels. I liked both the hero and the heroine; I wasn’t as wild about the heroine’s family. I felt like there needs to be more development in all parts of the story, both before the marriage and definitely after. I think the author waited too long for the big reveals about the two main characters. They acted and reacted to situations based on their history, but we as the readers did not know this history until almost the very end of the book. I think the author should have given this information slowly over the course of the novel, as it would have helped make the characters’ actions make more sense.
The crux of the matter for the hero is that he sees himself as less of a man because he has a limp. This concept is beaten like a dead horse throughout the book, but it doesn’t seem like enough to hang all the duke’s foibles on. What man would really be like that? It just didn’t seem believable. While I didn’t think enough was shown before the marriage, I thought the book went off the rails after they married. All of a sudden, the book wasn’t about the hero and heroine anymore (and their mysterious backstories) but how the heroine interacted with the hero’s sister—who actually showed up kind of late. The last part of the book wasn’t all about that, of course, but a surprising amount of time just after marriage was just about this relationship. The couple had enough issues between themselves because of their histories that those would have been enough for them to work on, especially with the interference from the heroine’s family and her problems with her sisters. After such a promising concept in the beginning, I was disappointed that the book just completely fell apart for me.