I was super excited to read this book, because Christina Britton has been one of my favorite authors for the last few years, ever since I read her debut novel. She never fails to write an enjoyable book, and this is certainly no exception! There was so much drama in this story, that I wasn't always sure what direction she was going to take it, and that kept me in suspense the entire time. The characters were all so unique, and what I felt was especially nice to read was villains that weren't so obvious. In this story, you have an idea that the father is not particularly friendly, so it's not super surprising that he's not winning Father of the Year. But I also thought other people were villains who were not, and then there were characters whose villainy completely shocked me. It was a la Frozen with the whole Hans fiasco, where the entire movie theater gasped - it was that level of NO that my mind shouted, because you want people to be good. When they're not, and you had faith in their "goodness," it feels like the worst sort of betrayal. And that shock factor is the mark of a good writer.
Miss Lenora Hartley has lost another fiance. It's the third one, and her father is at his limit with the scandal each broken engagement has caused. Granted, none of them have been her fault, but it doesn't matter. She must leave society for a time while the gossip dies down, and what better place to go than her childhood "happy place" - the Isle of Synne. WIth her best friend, Margery, in tow, they go to visit Margery's grandmother, and as they arrive on her doorstep, they are greeted by a handsome yet gruff man who just happens to be the heir to the Duke of Dane. Peter Ashford has no wish to be a duke and only returned to honor a promise he made to his dying mother years ago. Wrangled into staying for a month with his great aunt, he is stunned to find that he'll be sharing the house with not just the older woman but the two young women at the front door. Lenora catches his eye, but he realizes that he must keep his eye on the real prize - the ruination of the man who condemned his mother to death, the Duke himself.
Ah, what tangled webs we weave when revenge is on the mind. I know that's not the saying, but I think it still applies. Majority of the story was wrapped around Peter's incessant need for revenge, even in the face of evidence that said revenge might not be as justified as he once thought. He became distracted at times by Lenora and her kindness, but he always came back to his ultimate goal. It was sad, really, when Lenora was such a sweetheart. While I would have liked her to stand up for herself more, particularly when Peter was rude so often, her soft spoken ways were a great contract to his bluster. They worked as a pair, if only Peter could see anything beyond his revenge. I found the second half of the book to be much faster than the first half, as conflict arises with the addition of another suitor and, of course, Peter goes off half-cocked rather than trying to find out the truth. As always in romance books, eventually he comes to his senses, but it is slow in coming and the reader will find themselves in a tangle of nerves by the end.
Being the first in the series, I am eager to read what comes next! Peter's friend, Quincy, was a hoot, and perhaps my favorite character in the book. I had many highlights in my Kindle of his lines, and you're sure to love him too. His book is bound to be a favorite of mine.
**I received a free copy via NetGalley and this is my honest review.**