Top positive review
For me, one of the best of the series
on 24 April 2015
I so enjoyed this book. I have read several reviews which state that the second half of the book didn't appeal, and felt rushed. I really didn't get that impression. At the beginning, it was fascinating to watch Jules and Phoebe flirt, banter, enjoy one another's company and start to fall in love. There was a lot of witty humour, but the focus was on the difference in social classes and expectations in that period. Even as I was enjoying it, I felt as though I was watching an accident which was inevitably going to happen. From early in the book, when Lisbeth, without any malice, made plain her view of where Phoebe fitted into the house party, I felt on edge. Phoebe was pushing the boundaries with Jules, and he encouraged her without any thought of having a permanent relationship with her. He expected to marry someone of his class - and this in a time when breeding, background and property were so very important to the upper echelons of society. It wasn't even the usual reason, marrying to oblige his family. It was just what he expected of himself. I wanted to shout to Phoebe to please be careful!
When she was invited to London, I was totally caught up in the disaster rushing towards her. This was the bored idle rich and titled at play, without a thought of what their actions would do to another human being - because to them, she was so beneath their dignity that they didn't consider her feelings at all, and it was just a game to them. I was so caught up in it that I couldn't put the book down - Phoebe was unaware that she was courting disaster when you knew she ought to have recognised what was happening around her, and she was swept along, basking in the reflected glory without once questioning WHY this was happening to her.
The tying up of loose ends also made me laugh, because I would never have guessed at the arbiter of Jules' misfortune - and everyone who deserved it got their comeuppance.
I have been reading these books in order, and I have enjoyed all of them but this one just struck a note with me. I hope all the remaining ones are equally good.