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Oh my goodness, this book gave me the chills! It is a beautiful love story, with enchanting characters and a romance that makes you wish you could step write into the heroine's shoes. I was only halfway through the book when I realized that this book would be a lovely addition to my Best Books of 2018 list. The story was so well-written, and I couldn't help but want more as soon as it ended. I didn't want to put it down.
Miss Imogen Duncan is quite used to being a wallflower. At 26, her mother has despaired of her ever making a match, so Imogen is relegated to spinster status while her beautiful, vivacious sister is the belle of the ball. One evening, while trying to escape the harsh criticism of her peers, she runs into the gardens and straight into the arms of Caleb Masters, Marquess of Willbridge, and a well-known rake and womanizer. However, despite his reputation, Caleb is kind to Imogen and gentle when most men would mock her in such an awkward situation. Even after they part, Caleb finds it difficult to keep his mind away from her, and he begins to seek her out. Soon everyone is assuming they are courting, and although Imogen longs for Caleb's heart, he makes it clear that while he holds her in great affection, he is incapable of offering her love. It becomes a battle of wills, and Caleb realizes that he may have more to lose than his best friend - he may lose his heart as well.
Caleb was the sweetest hero I have encountered in a historical romance to date. Hands down, competition is over, everyone can go home, because he is the clear winner. I can't even picture a better hero than him, honestly. He was such a kind person to Imogen when she needed it most, and he saw the real her and sought to bring it out in every situation. He stood up for her against her horrible mother, and his every action spoke of the kind of love that many, if not all, women wish for. They started out as friends, then became confidantes, and finally soulmates. Imogen reminded me so much of myself in many ways, and I enjoyed seeing her grow as a person and realize what awaited her if only she could see beyond the prejudices of society. She was so used to being seen as a plain jane, and when someone saw her as more, it took her time to realize that it was genuine and born from a place of love rather than trickery. Her growth as a character was extraordinary, and the love between Caleb and Imogen was so well-developed. Christina Britton has a gift!
I know I just wrote a review, but truly - it is so difficult to put into words how much I enjoyed this book. If you can get a copy, read it. You will love it, I guarantee it.
**I received a free copy via NetGalley and this is my honest review.**