I rarely give out 1 star reviews to a book I have actually finished. If I've finished it, it deserves at least 2 stars unless it is completely unredeemable for me. I was annoyed with this story to point that I had to force myself to finish, just skimming along repetitive paragraphs searching for kernels of story. I also wanted to know how the story ended. And that is why this is only 1 star instead of 2 stars: There is no ending! There is no resolution! There is no romance! There is no connection! The hero and heroine meet once at 93% into the book, but don't know it's the other. This is the first book I wanted to throw across the room, but it was on my Kindle and didn't want to break it. I did scream and groan and lament the fact that I trudged all through this horrible mess called a book for absolutely NOTHING!
Obviously, I have some strong negative feelings about this "book."
Lady Alexandria Featherstone's parents are high profile treasure hunters and have gone missing. The King has declared them dead and has ordered Gabriel, the Duke of St. Easton, to take guardianship over Lady Alex to keep her safe from those who possibly harmed her parents, who seek the same treasure, and who would use her to find it as well. Alex chafes at the idea of having a guardian and doesn't believe her parents dead so she sets out to follow "clues" left behind by her parents to save them. Gabriel pursues her across England and Ireland trying to protect his ward from harm.
First, Lady Alex is TOO STUPID TO LIVE! She has no skills, no personality, and no common sense. Her parents never wanted a child, and have made no secret about it. She lives in squalor and is shocked to find out that she has a fortune that rivals the duke's, which we hear over and over again is richer than the King! So, her parents never showed her any love yet she is worried for them and determined to save them. She runs off without a companion and shocked when men treat her as a common whore because she isn't acting like a lady. She has no sleuthing skills, yet everyone clamors about how smart she is because she goes to the post office where her parents posted a letter. Wow! What deductive reasoning you have! She tells everyone wide and far that she's looking for her parents and searching for treasure. Wow! Way to keep a low profile! She throws several temper tantrums throughout the story, yet when one of her companions she collects along the way gets hurt he says to her "Quit that blubbering and act like the woman I know you are." Really? And what woman would that be? The one that freaks out over everything? Because, yeah, she's doing that right now. Where is this strong, capable, smart woman you think you are talking to, because it isn't Alex.
Everyone she meets seems to fall under her spell and is from then on her loyal friends, yet I could see no reason for it. All she does is say hi, tell them her whole life story about searching for her parents and treasure, and they smile and think she is amazing.
I liked the idea of Alex and Gabriel falling in love through letters, but I couldn't even understand how it happened. They exchange a few letters, in which Alex tells more lies than truths, yet Gabriel is falling for this woman? The letters are very few, they show Alex as an ignorant lady of ill breeding as she is rude, demanding, and plain stupid for calling the King names! And Gabriel wants to love this woman?
The mystery of the missing parents and missing treasure is never resolved, yet we hear all the "clues" (and I use that term "clues" loosely, this isn't Sherlock Holmes or anything remotely intelligent) at least twice as Alex follows her "clues" and questions people and then a few days later Gabriel, hot on her trail, questions the same people and we hear the same "clues" yet again. Repetitive!
Oh, and Gabriel. Sigh, where to start. He actually wasn't so bad if he wasn't so stupid. It's never clear WHY the King calls on HIM to protect Alex. What skills does he have to bring to the table? Huh, not sure. We do know that he has studied just about every subject. He gets obsessive about something and learns all there is about it and then is bored with it and moves on. And he is rich. So, why is it HIM the King wants to pursue this? Don't know. As I said before, we don't get an ending. And so much time is devoted to his new ailment of losing his hearing that that is all that is remarkable about him. He's lost his hearing and has to deal with it. And he's too stupid to follow an inept treasure hunter.
I know several people will mark this review as "Not Helpful" just because I'm giving it 1 Star, but really I was that annoyed with this story. I slogged through all that annoyance to get to absolutely nothing--there was absolutely no payoff in the end to make it worth it.
My Recommendation: Skip this headache and timewaster. If you are still inclined to read this, I'd suggest waiting until the release of the second book The Forgiven Duke: A Forgotten Castles Novel so that you can at least find out how it all ends. Cliffhanger doesn't even begin to describe how this book ends as not one item in this story is resolved. (And really, I can't understand WHY the DUKE has to be FORGIVEN when it is Alex is the liar and the inconsiderate imbecile who is in serious need of forgiveness--not the duke who has done NOTHING wrong!)
Forgotten Castles Novels
The Guardian Duke
The Forgiven Duke: A Forgotten Castles Novel
I wish I had just skipped this one or just stopped reading once I realized it was a dud. *groan*