Note: I’m taking a Science Fiction & Fantasy course through mid-December and am focused on reading short stories (from a Sci-Fi anthology collection) and novels (The Three-Body Problem, Good Omens) for that. I’ll review all of those as well, but in the meantime my normal reviews will mostly be on-hold.
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Out of all the Christi Caldwell books I’ve read, this is only the second time I’ve given one less than at least 4 stars. I liked the book, but certainly didn’t love it.
Helena Banbury is a bookkeeper in a gaming hell that belongs to her brothers. Lord Robert is a marquess who is distrustful of women thanks to a past lover. These two meet when Robert drunkenly stumbles into the wrong hallway, and from there fate takes over as Helena gets thrust into Society.
When these two characters are together, you get a true sense of their friendship and trust building. There are a few obligatory misunderstandings, but they’re minor and easily worked past. Both Helena and Robert are guarded, but eventually that friendship tears their barriers down. With that foundation of character building, their budding romance is completely believable.
My problem with this book is their pasts – or more succinctly, the constant internal thoughts repeating their past issues and flaws pretty much every point-of-view shift. I understand that their past makes them who they are, and understand that it factors in, but did it need the emphasis it got?
Instead of Helena’s constant ruminations on her appearance, I would have loved to see more of her struggles to make friends in society and get acquainted with learning to become a lady. We’re told that she had lessons, but aside from one we never see them. Only a few times is she interacting with other young ladies. Even near the beginning, more foundation should have been laid to give us a better feel for the depths of her relationship with her brothers.
Instead of Robert’s constant dwelling over Lucy and how heartless his grandfather was, I would have enjoyed seeing him interacting more with his family and other members of society. Or even peering in on him diving into the family finances as he decided to become more involved with the estate. What did he do between seeing Helena? I honestly imagined that he just sat at his desk staring at the wall for hours. What exactly was his wager? Still trying to figure out how the title fits the book.
In short, the book had an interesting story with a HEA, but also a lot of potential that felt unexplored. It did make me interested in how Helena’s brothers’ stories will play out (I assume this was more of an introduction to them than anything). The preview of Sinful Brides #2 (ETA: Feb 2017) already has me waiting in antici……..pation.
I received a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.