Scholarly and socially minded Annabelle works with a group of suffragettes to make the world a little more equitable. To do that, they have to have a voice in Parliament. To do that, they need to make sure the Duke of Montgomery doesn’t stand against them. So they throw their strongest weapon at them, Annabelle… not only does her beauty rival Helen of Troy’s but also she’s got the brains to cross wits with the Duke himself. As for Sebastian, the aforementioned Duke, he’s got absolutely no interest in the affairs of females or females themselves. Burned by a blessedly short marriage and his father’s fecklessness, his lone goal is to restore his family’s good name and lands. And that definitely means that he doesn’t have any time for affairs of the heart.
Except of course that isn’t what happens.
It took me a long time to figure out what I felt about this book. I liked it… mostly. I liked it enough to read through in a night while my asshole neighbor was out at all hours chainsawing down trees and dismantling his deck. (I have a really shitty neighbor, but that’s neither here nor there.) It took me sleeping on it for me to figure out the reasons why this isn’t an automatic five star… I mean, I read it in a night. I enjoyed it. I want to read the next book. It should be a five star, but it’s not. And here’s why… in a book about feminism and women’s rights, the heroine spends a most of her time being rescued by a man. And not just by the hero… two other men come to the heroine’s rescue. And oftentimes this happens when the heroine doesn’t want to be rescued…
It doesn’t help that there were times that the heroine was Too Stupid To Live and that frustrated me. It’s like her TSTL behavior was only there for a dude to step in and save the day. Additionally, there were several times where I found myself flipping to earlier parts of the book because a plot point was introduced so late in the game and it hadn’t been hinted at or foreshadowed earlier. This even happened in the sex scenes. Finally, the hero had a really unfortunate habit of kissing the heroine without permission. It happened a lot. To the point where I got annoyed with it. Consent isn’t just for sex, kids. It’s for kissing, touching, and a whole slew of other things.
So why isn’t this rated lower? I considered it. After all, there’s a few big reasons why it should be that I just listed. But it came down to a few things. I liked the characters. I really did. I especially liked Hattie and Peregrin. The hero had a good character arc, unfortunate kissing issues aside. The supporting cast was great. Like super great. Honestly I liked the heroine the least. LOL I liked the Historical reality of this and that the author acknowledged when she fudged history. This is important. There’s no way to be fully historically accurate. Accept that you are going to have anachronisms, but if you do bend the history try to do it with intent.
I liked the language. It was really quite lovely, and I highlighted so many great quotes in this book. Seriously. So many good lines. It kept me engaged. Like I read this from start to finish in less than 5 hours. That’s not nothing. Even with chainsaw entitled asshole. I still was entertained and distracted. Which means that in the end, the book did its job. It just wasn’t a perfect book, so it gets… Four stars.
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