I think that you have to be in the right frame of mind to enjoy "The Kissing Game" so that you can overlook the heroine's (Lady Allegra) tendency to talk nonstop, actually enjoy the pranks that her father, Oxie, the Earl of Sunderland plays, and overlook certain plot niggles -- like fairly modern language and Lady Allegra's tendency to behave as if she were living in the 21st century. Otherwise, I'm fairly certain that most readers would find "The Kissing Game" be a fairly entertaining read.
Lady Allegra Nesbitt is fit to be tied! Her practical joker of a father has decided to take the family to London (along with her pill of a cousin, Elizabeth) so that Lady Allegra can make her bows and catch herself a husband. And Lady Allegra is not happy at all. She wants to return to the country post haste. No, wait: she wants to have fun and adventure after adventure -- not marry a stuffy husband who will no doubt turn up his nose at her father's odd ways and her mother's shy country manners. (Also, she fairly certain that the London ton will turn their backs on the Nesbitts and she'd like to spare her mother that humiliation.) Except that the ton doesn't exactly turn their backs on the Nesbitts, esp after their mysterious and enigmatic neighbour, Armand Gauthier (who has fallen for Lady Allegra's good looks and lively ways) decides to sponsor Lady Allegra into Society. Will the Nesbitt girls actually 'take' because of Gauthier's sponsorship? Will the eligible bachelors of the ton line up to press for Lady Allegra's hand in marriage? Not if Lady Allegra can help it! And she comes up with a plan: she will get Gauthier to agree to a pretend courtship so that she can keep her parents happy for a while and extricate herself from the relationship with ease at the Season's end. But all good plans usually have some hiccup or the other, and Lady Allegra's seems to be that she suddenly finds herself being perilously attracted to the mysterious and secretive Gauthier. What should she do? Stick to her original plan or see if she can actually nab this maddening gentleman for herself?
As I noted, you really have to be in the right frame of mind to totally surrender yourself to enjoying and accepting what occur and unfolds in this novel. I obviously was not. I, kept wanting to have a 'real' conversation with Lady Allegra where I'd get her to explain how she expected to find a gentleman she'd fall passionately in love with, who would allow her to have adventures, and who wouldn't turn up his nose at her parents, deep in the countryside? I also wanted to know why someone who deplored but accepted her father's love of playing tricks on everyone (even his long-suffering wife) at the beginning of the book would feel the need to do likewise a few chapters later? And why she was always bemoaning her cousin's tendency to talk all the time when she obviously suffered from the same trait?
And then there was Lady Allegra's incredibly 21st century bahaviour. Why is it that so few people see that there is a difference between spirited 19th century manners and a very feisty 21st century attitude? I don't think I'm being unreasonably difficult here. I just want the HISTORICAL romance novel I'm reading to have a little more historical accuracy to it than clothing. And then there was the epilogue. Without giving too much away I will say that I was rather turned off by the Earl of Sunderland's decision to emigrate to New Orleans. The whole notion of being a responsible landlord and actually using his seat at the House of Lords to do some good never really occurs to him. There's a whole lot more to having a title than just attending balls and using your status to getting things your way. Unfortunately, the earl didn't seem to understand this. (Yes, I know that this is a romance novel and that's supposed to be part fantasy and that I shouldn't find fault with EVERYTHING under the sun) On the plus side, however, the novel did unfold smoothly and was a fairly entertaining read. My opinion: enjoy this novel for it's entertainment value; but if you're looking for something with a little substance to it, try something else.