I enjoyed Ms. Simpson's first book in this series. This book seems to be written (or not written) by someone else. There is no depth to the characters and it's not true to the time period. It opens with the heroine and her sister and brother, all from Germany and featured in the prior books, heading for a ball. She has a written contract to marry the hero, the Earl of Wesmorlyn. The ball is supposed to be in her honor and is sponsored by a cousin of the Earl. They've just arrived in town that day from Germany and she has never met the Earl. He doesn't visit her in advance of the ball, nor is she, her family or the Earl in the receiving line at the ball. In fact, there is no receiving line. This is implausible for the time period! Both the Earl and her brother are crtical of Charlotte's behavior (who knows why). They make the same stilted comments over and over again and she has the same reaction each time and whines about how unreasonable they are. With that, she goes out into the gardens and accepts the advances of a man she's just met, Lyluph Randell a neighbor of the Earl. She lets him kiss her and is discovered by the earl and her brother. The Earl challenges the other man to a dual and he and her brother continue with their superficial critical remarks. A short while later, Randell, who has his own nefarious plans for Wesmorlyn's sister, overhears Charlotte talking about locating her half sisters mother. He insinuates himself into the coversation (should she even be talking with him after he kissed her and caused such a commotion?) He tells them that this person just happens to be a tenant of his in Cornwall and since her brother is so unreasonable, he'll help them escape in the night and take them to this person. In what world does any idiot believe this outrageous coincidence and agree to go off with a stranger? Whatever this guy tells them, they believe.
The next day the Earl visits her brother to apologize. Here we get the second of the repeat senarios. The brother fees bad about what he said to Charlotte and the Earl feels bad about what he said. In addition, Randell never showed up for the duel but the Earl doesn't plan on doing anything about it. This is highly unlikely for a character of this time period about a duel. Charlotte (off on her adventure) also feels bad. They're either mad at the other person or feeling bad about their actions when they were mad.
I tried to plug on hoping things would get better. It's rare for me not to finish a book. However, the dialogue was so arduous to read, the characters one dimensional and the time period so unrealistic that I gave up on the book a quarter through. I read the other reviews here but can't believe they read the same book. I'm taking my copy back to the book store for a return credit.