My rating: 4 of 5 stars
My first Eloisa James read was a success. I’d planned to start with her Fairy Tale series, but changed my mind upon hearing that this was supposed to be a standalone. Not only that, but I’ve always wanted to read a historical set in England with one of the main characters being American. Therefore, I decided to try a new author, and read an English-set historical romance with an American heroine all at the same time.
Since the title is about her, I thought I’d start by talking about Merry. I really liked her. She was extremely kind, even going out of her way to make up for ruining a woman’s reputation, due to her not knowing all of the British customs. That lack of knowledge just endeared Merry to me even more. It’s nice sometimes to read a book about a heroine who hasn’t got all of society figured out. Merry was also intelligent and stubborn, which meant that she wasn’t someone who was easily controlled. She spoke her mind whenever she could get away with it, and did as she pleased. Adding to all this, I felt a bit sorry for Merry. Due to her past with men, she never knew if she was fickle, or just hadn’t found the right person for her.
Then, there was Trent. I was an immediate fan. It was refreshing to read a book where the hero wasn’t afraid of marriage. Trent was afraid of love, but never marriage. Said fear of love came from a childhood where his mother favored Trent’s twin, Cedric, and I immediately felt bad for Trent upon learning this. Lastly, and most importantly, Trent was just a good guy. He would do anything for the people that he loved, even if they were jerks. He had honor, loyalty, and the capacity to do a good deed for someone he didn’t really know.
Any discussion of side characters within this novel has to start out with Cedric. Cedric was Trent’s brother, and Merry’s fiancee. He said all the right things by society’s standards, but he wasn’t the perfect man Merry thought him to be. I really couldn’t wait to be rid of him, and that is the mark of excellent writing. Then, there was Merry’s aunt and uncle, Bess and Thaddeus. It was really great to see guardians act as parents, with no villainous intent as is so common in books. I loved how Bess was a poet, and her thousand-line poems just added a level of fun to the story.
So as not to spoil things, I’ll make plot discussion vague. Merry came to London after jilting two previous fiancees. Upon arrival, she met and quickly fell in love with Cedric. During this book, she discovered that things weren’t all that they appeared with him, made some intriguing discoveries about English society, and found the right man for her, through some rather interesting circumstances. The first half wasn’t amazing(mostly because I hated Cedric), but I still found it unputdownable. And then the second half? Well. I skipped meals, ignored my phone and just read as much as possible.
With all that in mind, I’m sure you know I’m recommending this book to all readers of historical romance. The heroine was just so stubborn and kind. The hero was a good person, despite his understandable fear of love. The plot kept me riveted, and I had lots of trouble stopping for a break. Eloisa James sure knows how to capture a reader’s attention, and I will certainly be back for more of her stories.