To all of London society, Lord and Lady Tremaine had the ideal arrangement: a marriage based on civility, courteousness, and freedom--by all accounts, a perfect marriage. The reason? For the last ten years, husband and wife have resided on separate continents.
But once upon a time, things were quite different for the Tremaines....When Gigi Rowland first laid eyes on Camden Saybrook, the attraction was immediate and overwhelming. But what began in a spark of passion ended in betrayal the morning after their wedding--and now Gigi wants to be free to marry again. When Camden returns from America with an outrageous demand in exchange for her freedom, Gigi's decision will have consequences she never imagined, as secrets are exposed, desire is rekindled--and one of London's most admired couples must either fall in love all over again...or let each other go forever.
Comment: Since I've read Delicious by the author I was very curious to see if I'd like her other books as much as that one, which I loved.
However, I didn't such high expectations over this book because I've read a comment here and there about something having bothered the person for this or that. I didn't pay any attention to the why of it because I intended to read the book someday and didn't want to ruin myself the surprises. Still, part of me dreaded starting the book, while the rest of me was bent on doing it anyway.
This is the story of the couple Camden and Gigi. They've been married for a long time, ten years actually, but all that time was spent living separately. Why? Because they wanted it and because it proved to society a couple could do it and have the perfect marriage, so they've been living in different continents. However, when Gigi wanted a divorce, Camden returned to England and imposed a rule of his own in order to sign the papers later. Gigi was shocked by Camden's ideas but she said yes because she wanted to get it over it, although..part of her was very hurt he didn't want to fight for her. During the book we get often alternate chapters between the current time of action and ten years before when they met and married. It's with all the clues from both time frames that we start to understand what really happened to them, what forced them to live apart and what reasons were so unmanageable for them to do it.
At the same time, we get a second love story - author's trademark, I suppose at this point, only having read two books by her and both with it - between Gigi's mother and a neighbor duke, a more mature but sweet developing romance.
When I first started the book, the first chapters made me as angry as I could imagine because of a book. I was intensely mad at the female protagonist....I still am because she is one of the most awful main female characters ever in a romance I've read. I don't like her, at all. I don't care for her reasons, I don't care she suffered too, I don't care she had her feelings hurt at some point, I don't care for her fears and position, I. DON'T. LIKE. HER. Why? Because all the couple's problems started because of her, because she was selfish and cold and spoiled and what she thought she had to have, she got. She was a scheming person to the bone and I disliked her immensely. But at some point in the past she knew she was behaving wrong, she knew what she was doing was wrong but she believed herself to be in love so I kind of understood why she decided to do the awful thing she did. But when her relationship with her husband seemed doomed and she lost hope of them ever being together, she took lovers. She committed adultery. Well, so did he, but only after she did. And they were apart because of her. So I hated her character, not his. Now all this shouldn't bother me, after all if one can't be happy with someone and like at the time divorces being so hard to gain for a woman, it should be understandable she would find someone else, but...this is romance, this is fiction, this is the 19th century, this is fantasy, she should have waited. I know reality isn't like this, I'm sure is wasn't like this back in 1890, but this is a book, it's romance, I don't want to hate my heroines, I want them to be superior, to be more than somebody else. I really hated the fact she took lovers although it suited her personality. But I did hate even more so because she claimed to still love her husband. And everything was mostly her fault and she loved him and she didn't wait, it really annoys me!
This sort of ruined most of the book for me. I was still curious to see how she would be redeemable and in the end she went after her husband, in a bold way I liked, but she was already too much of a disappointment for me to like her.
Camden wasn't perfect either, but he was hurt in a way I found too awful because when it happened he was so happy and because of that his personality changed too and it was a pity...his attempt to delay the divorce was a bit stupid but he tried and sometimes stupidity is a mask for fear, so...I kind of excused him, although nothing he did was forced on Gigi, she always had a choice. (And no, no one was raped in the book).
The secondary love story was funny and to be honest, the moments I looked for the most.
There's nothing wrong with the writing or the way the author has made the story move along. I just can't stand the heroine and her stupid choices (stupid here meaning stupidity for real) or what she made others go through because of that.
I'm still reading her other books because I believe she wouldn't come with such an awful heroine again...at least not like this. Taste can make people like different things and that's fine, and the same way someone else might like Gigi for her independence and strong personality, I see her failures too much to like her, but this is life. I recommend the book, but with extreme caution..those romantic souls will suffer a bit, I think.