Title says it all, I was pleasantly surprised. I read Her Master and Commander, didn't like it, and was going to pass this book by. But, I felt I needed to give this author another chance since I liked her previous books before HMAC, so picked it up. I read it in one sitting, and for a book to hold my attention, it's bodes well.
Quick synopsis, the book's hero, Christian, has an agenda - REVENGE. First, he must find the person responsible for his mother's incarceration for alleged traitorous activities, and subsequent death. At the young age of 10, he was separated from his twin brother, and forced to live off his wits. He began with stealing, which evolved into becoming a highway man, dubbed "Gentleman James/Jack". As an adult, he finds himself with a title, a big fortune, and an inherited butler, who's role is to teach Christian how to become an aristocrat. Christian has evidence the Duke of Massingale, (whose name "Massingale" sounds somewhat like that brand name woman's feminine product hawked on tv), was involved, if not responsible, for his mother's imprisonment. To get to the duke, Christian attempts to seduce and win over the Duke's beloved grand daughter, Lady Elizabeth "Beth".
I liked both characters. Christian was bent on revenge, and in the end, comes to the realization that revenge isn't worth true love. As Beth and Christian's relationship evolves, the reader can see the change in Christian's attitude, his regrets of using Beth, and his appreciation for Beth's persona. I quite liked Beth, she was spunky, witty, and good hearted. Hawkins did not overdo Beth, she created her without making her seem to good to be true. The scenes flowed, and the dialogue was smooth. I have a pet peeve of authors who mix present day slang in with historical dialogue, and Hawkins did a great job of keeping that to a minimum. She also didn't overdo the angst between the main characters....I really detest authors who drag the fighting out between the hero and heroine throughout the entire book until the last chapter.
Many other reviewers who did not like the book wanted more "hot" scenes, but I say that sometimes it detracts from the storyline, and in this case, it would have. Of course, the reader could see right away who the guilty person was in the first few chapters, but it didn't kill the whole story.