Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Kobo
A fantastic first book by this author! I am floored by the beautiful characters, the captivating backstory of the heroine, and the surprisingly gentle nature of the hero. I almost didn't read this book, based on some of the reviews on Goodreads. However, I reminded myself that I rarely agree with reviews and should let this book have its day with me. So I did. I read the whole book. And you know what? I don't think I read the same book as those other reviewers. I loved it, and I think you would love it too!
Alexander Hallworth, Marquess of Pembrooke, is on a mission of revenge. After finding out his sister killed herself rather than remain pregnant with a bastard child, he swore to get even with the man who forced her hand. And what better way to do it than to ruin him financially and steal his betrothed? But when he sees her standing in the ballroom at her betrothal ball, a note from her fiance breaking the betrothal clutched in her hand, he sees a kindred spirit and vows to save her from the humiliation he has caused her. They soon find themselves engaged and then married. Lady Claire Cavensham is used to such bad luck. After all, she has gone through four broken betrothals now, all as the result of a curse laid on her since childhood. She finds Alex an easy man to love, but when secrets come out and trust is broken, she must decide if her love for him can surpass his apparent distrust of her. It's a story of deception and lies, and it all seems to come down to the old saying - O, what a tangled web we weave when first we practise to deceive!
This is one of those rare moments when I love the hero way more than I do the heroine. Don't get me wrong - I like both characters very much! There is something about Alex, though, that makes me believes in fairytales again. Sure, he did some questionable things in the first few chapters, particularly in deceiving Claire. However, it quickly becomes clear that he genuinely likes her and just wants to see her happy. However, Claire frequently frustrated me, as she seemed so hung up on the few misunderstandings she had with Alex. She overreacted in a few situations, when really she should have been looking at how kind Alex was to her after they were married. What she kept assuming of him - that he doesn't trust her, that was using her, etc. - didn't match the affection, support, and understanding he showed her. He didn't even consummate the marriage right away, which in those days, said something! Especially of a man who supposedly thought so little of her. It was a bit much ado about nothing, but I still greatly enjoyed them as a couple. Her curse made her vulnerable, and that caused a lot of her insecurities. Once the curse is explained, the reader does fully understand why everything is so hard for her.
Great debut novel for Janna MacGregor! I can't wait to read the next book in the series. Masterful storytelling and a great writing style, this author is one to watch out for.
**I received a free copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.**