I loved the two previous books I read by Diane Farr, but this one is a bit of a mish-mash. There are some delightful moments mixed in with some ho-hum parts that just don’t work for me.
The plot: Gil and Chloe have been the best of friends for years. He’s now a man-about-town and she’s a spirited and independent young lady who’s perfectly content to live a secluded country life. But when they inadvertently find themselves in a compromising situation, some kindly soul sends a notice of their engagement to the newspaper. Then Gil’s sister Tish takes the inexperienced Chloe under her wing and launches her into London society.
The writing is very much inspired by Georgette Heyer, and unfortunately many of the characters are drawn from her favourite stereotypes, too. Chloe is the innocent young girl getting into scrapes, Gil has the two regulation not-very-bright friends, there’s an overbearing mother and a devilish rake… all the usual suspects. And the plot is driven by misunderstandings and silliness which is all resolved with a wave of the hand in the last chapter.
There are two aspects that really grated on me. One is Gil’s sister, whose marriage of three years, although founded on love, is now falling apart, and all because the husband and wife don’t bother to talk to each other. This breaks one of the cardinal rules of any romance, for me, that a happy marriage should be happy for life, and the wife shouldn’t be off flirting with a notorious rake. And here’s the other point that bothered me. Chloe, our otherwise charming heroine, sees Tish’s rake and is promptly drawn to him herself, to the point of kisses and other bad behaviour in a betrothed lady, even if the betrothal is a bit of a sham. She might not realise that she’s in love with the hero, but she shouldn’t be getting hot and bothered over another man.
Despite these issues, I really enjoyed the read, and the romance came to a very satisfactory conclusion, even if they did have to be prodded into it rather. Four stars.