My rating: 3 of 5 flames
Wow, I am really sad to say that this book was very “meh.” It’s not bad by any means, but it wasn’t great.
When I first started this book, a lot of comments on both twitter and goodreads were all very positive and encouraging. I enjoyed the first book in this series (and both can be read as stand-alones), but this one was well, I guess it doesn’t help that I got irritated with both the main characters quite a bit.
Hawk, Earl of Hawkfield, is talked into watching over his best friend’s sister Julianne for the Season. Tristan wants to be with his wife during her confinement (she’s close to giving birth), and no one else can help. So Hawk agrees, thinking he’ll escort her to a few balls and then go play cards, maybe pop in every now and then to check in on her. His aunt is sponsoring Julianne, so she won’t be alone. Hawk never really thinks beyond that. What he didn’t count on is that Julianne was determined to win his heart.
Julianne has been in love with Hawk since she was 8. It’s sweet that he always made her feel included and he always joked with her, but Julianne took it as flirting, so she’s been proposed to over a dozen times and turned them all down. She’s never even kissed one of these boys, she’s saved that for Hawk.
What I liked. Julianne had been “out” for 4 Seasons, so she wasn’t some 17 year old maiden. Why that didn’t work, though-after being “out” and having turned down a dozen proposals, she still behaved like a little girl, NOT like the woman she claims to be. There’s a reason Hawk never treated her like anything but a little girl-she still acted like one.
To me, the whole book was full of contradictions like that. One second she is soo angry with Hawk and his treatment of her (rightfully so), and then five minutes later they are joking and flirting. What happened to the anger? He really did run roughshod over her.
“His conduct is beyond rude. He treats me as if I am a marionette. I am weary of him pulling my strings at his pleasure.” –Julianne about Hawk
That seemed to be the standard. So I really liked Julie at first. She went in knowing that this would be “the” Season that she made Hawk love her, then early on, he dashes all her hopes by saying she is like a sister to him. It really hurt Julianne, so I understand she was hurt, and I loved the scene where she and her friends got foxed. But Hawk would never let Julianne explain, not once. OR he just wouldn’t believe her when she did. That bugged me at first, til I realized she was acting like a childish young girl, so he had no reason whatsoever to trust her. I began to like Julianne less and less as I watched her “grow” as a character; there was very little growth. Julianne ran hot and cold and it drove me nuts!
Hawk had a huge secret and a sordid past. Only at one point in the book did his rakehell ways hurt Julianne, but I thought she was right to be hurt and angry. Hawk, however felt she didn’t trust him, especially after her undying pledge of trust earlier. His solution? To shock her and take her to his infamous “Love Nest.” Oh, and that’s where he finally realizes that it wasn’t a good idea. Hmm, ya think? But Julie’s pride is hurt, so she presses on and goes up to his room. I hated the scene that followed. Hated it. It was unnecessary and crass.
I thought that there was very little to no sexual tension, and that the romance itself fell flat. I thought what happened to Hawk was awful, really I did, but man! It’s been 12 years! Deal and move on. And I think that part of it was blown out of proportion-no one forced him to do it-yeah, peer pressure, but don’t hang the blame on Ramsey for a decade.
So the book on the whole was okay. I read it through so I could find out what exactly had happened those 12 long years ago. I wanted to be invested in the characters, really I did, but I just didn’t care after a while. The pamphlet idea was fun and I enjoyed watching that part of Julianne mature, but I felt she never quite matured elsewhere in the book.
I don’t know, I seem to be in the minority when I look at the other reviews, so I hope that this book works for you, unfortunately it just didn’t do it for me.
***Thanks to netgalley.com for the ARC
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