I have loved many of the books that I’ve read, but it has been a long time since I can remember being as flat out delighted as I was when reading this book. I finished it and just wanted to squeeze it to me and bask in its awesomeness. (Not quite that comfortable when it’s an ebook you’re reading) It was so frickin’ adorable!
Ainsworth and Prudence have a…unique start to their relationship. One night, while out enjoying himself on the town, the duke is nabbed and drugged by Prudence’s well-meaning servants in order to bring to life a revenge she’s spent years plotting. Of course, Prudence would have never gone through with the plan on her own, but since her servants/friends already had him there, why not? Is it her fault that the title recently changed hands and they didn’t realize it until it was too late? Surely he won’t be that upset about the tattoo they forced on him. And if he is…well, he was drugged and won’t remember them, right? Right?!?
Of course, they’re not that lucky. Ainsworth does not take it at all well. He can’t exactly go to the police and start a manhunt because then he would have to admit what happened, but he has no plans of letting this go. It drives him nuts that he doesn’t know why someone did this to him, but he will find them no matter how long it takes and he will have his revenge. Luckily for him he remembers some things from that night, despite being drugged, and he has the clue (of sorts) that Prudence couldn’t resist leaving with him out of guilt.
You can see why I was sucked into this story, can’t you? How unique and fun! I absolutely loved the writing style used. The tone is completely matter-of-fact, but it is so matter-of-factly absurd that you can’t help but giggle. Hilarious events are treated as completely rational and each little absurdity adds up to a wonderfully fun romp of a story. This book reminded me so much of the air of fun that I find when reading a Loretta Chase or Kate Noble story. I prize that quality so I’m thankful I’ve found another author that can deliver.
I loved watching Ainsworth and Prudence fall in love. The shenanigans they got up to had me in stitches but the genuine friendship and love that developed is really what invested me in them. There was such genuine care between them, despite being an unlikely pair on the surface. I also loved that the story spanned such a significant time span. I rarely get that in the HR’s of today so that was appreciated. The last story I can remember reading that, like this, had a good chunk of time covered was Wulf’s story, Slightly Dangerous, by Mary Balogh. Why is that so rare nowadays?
A misunderstanding and inability (or refusal) to communicate crops up toward the end of the book, which might irk some, but for me it just added a layer of further fun to an already delightful courtship. Watching Ainsworth bumble around love and having his friends come to investigate the situation made the whole thing that much better. I didn’t quite understand the motivation of Prudence’s brother and his wife, but that was such a small niggle that it barely bothered me. Who cares about her brother and sister-in-law when the rest of the characters fix your attention so firmly their way? I read the sneak peek for the author’s next book with Ainsworth’s friend, Lord Clun, and it looks F-A-B-U-L-O-U-S. I wish it were already out!
The writing was solid (which I greatly appreciate in a debut author), the characters intelligent, and the dialogue witty. Honestly, this book hit all my sweet spots and has me wishing the author had a backlist for me to glom. If you’re on the fence about this one, consider this: it’s only $2.99 for the ebook right now. How can you go wrong? That’s one heck of a deal for a story this delightful.
”Over and over, I’ve bared my soul to her.”
“You told her you loved her?” Percy persisted.
“Not precisely in those words, Percy,” the duke snapped. “Why must you harp on that!”