This book was an incredible disappointment. I normally read a series in order, but I broke that rule for this book because the premise seemed so interested. I've been in the mood to read a book about "one person falls in love with another, thinking s/he is someone else" and this seemed just the thing.
I had enough issues with this book, I'm not sure I'll pick up any others in the series, let alone all of them. I didn't hate everything, but rarely has a book gone from "cute" to "unbearable" so fast.
* Until they both got struck by a bad case of "excessive stupidity" I actually liked the main characters. The hero was less enjoyable in his scenes as the Duke than he was as Mr. St. Maur, but I liked them both overall.
* The premise is interesting, and while there are certainly other books out there with a similar premise, it's not SO common as to seem overly redundant.
* I hated probably 90% of the supporting characters. All of the Duke's servants. His daughter. Tia was only tolerable. The Duke and Duchess of Hollindrake don't even show up in this book, but the way the other characters talk about the makes me never, ever want to read their book. Why? Because the way they're discussed by other characters makes me think that he's self-involved and is more concerned about his pocketbook than the people around him, and she'd steal a diamond off her dead mother's corpse before burying her if she thought it was worth something. Why would I read a story about them?
* The Stupid. DEAR GOD, THE STUPID. Okay, this isn't the first story to do this and won't be the last, but that doesn't make it any less STUPID.
* Evil Guy who is clearly established as being an unmitigated Villain comes to Heroine and says, "Oh, yeah, Hero's actually a bad guy who wants to kick puppies, steal candy from babies, and sell your sister to the highest bidder." And she - who has spent a good deal of time with Hero at this point, says, "Ohmygod, that makes sense! I'm going to run off to Other Love Interest because Hero can't be trusted!" So she does. It doesn't make sense, but the book says she must do so, so she does. Actually, she does in order to justify the Hero coming to "rescue" her but is actually just stupid.
* The Duke's servants are all Deeply Concerned that he's going insane because he's...in love...and wants to go on a picnic...and so they start burning his mail and thwarting him at every turn. Huh? Their assumption that he's "inviting bunnies to dinner" nuts because he wants a picnic just didn't make sense to me. I don't care that it was out of character for him, it was an absurd conclusion for them to reach and doesn't make their actions understandable or reasonable. And it certainly doesn't make the characters likeable.
* Heroine finds out Hero has been lying to her and is angry as she storms to his house to Have It Out with him. She calms down a little, however, when she realizes he lives in a Really Nice House. The book makes a point of mentioning that she calms down a bit at seeing the house and all its chimneys and how much nicer a place it is than her house. (She loves him, I'm sure, but she loves his chimneys at LEAST as much.)
* The resolution to the above issue with the servants is that the Duke says, "Your actions were incredibly wrong and unacceptable. But I realize you love me and that's why you did what you did. So it's all okay. I love you too." And Heroine THROWS herself into her arms, realizing that she loves him, truly madly AND deeply. WHAT? HOW DOES THAT MAKE SENSE? Incidentally, this confirms that lying to the person you "love" "for their own good" is okay because "you love them." (FYI, there is no discussion between Hero and Heroine at all about the fact he'd been lying to her for the ENTIRE duration of the book, and while I DO like stories with that kind of premise, that conversation is the only thing that makes it work as an acceptable story device.
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I considered giving this book three stars, but in the end, I couldn't quite bring myself to do it. I had considered reading the other books in this series before I picked this up, but after reading this one, I'm not really sure I want to do so.