Comment: This book has been in the pile for a couple of years and once in a while I randomly think about the amount of back lists by several authors I have to read and tell myself I need to get to them. This month I looked at ms Gaffney's list and thought this title would suit perfectly the T entry for the Soup challenge.
In this story we meet Anna Jourdaine, she's a newlywed whose husband is murdered soon after their marriage and when they were going to leave to their honeymoon. After a busy time she learns her beloved husband might be guilty of a crime concerning her family's business and she sees herself involved in a mad scheme to prove her husband's guilt - or innocence.
In order for this to happen, her husband's unknown twin brother is rescued from prison to take his place and play the part until more conspirators are found.
The brother, John is just like Nick, her husband, but they are also totally different. With time, Anna starts seeing John for who he really is and he is also an innocent man. Could their scheme ever turn them into a real couple?
In general, I liked this story and felt curious about what would happen. I think a couple of plot situations were exaggerated without any real purpose I could see except bring out more (unnecessary) drama, but overall it was a good enough historical romance story.
I liked the idea of this story. Twins are a handy way to solve a character's proximity to another person for some reason and in a way that society won't find out. In this book's case, Anna's husband is replaced for his twin but with the premise the twin, John, will go back to prison after his part is completed. One would ask why bother, but I think any prisoner would like to savor freedom again and even contemplate escape. This wasn't a perfect scheme but considering the time and the lack of identity validities we have nowadays, it was done reasonably well.
I liked John. He had a love for life that wasn't mad or reckless and he hid a morally acceptable personality I liked knowing about, and how under his cockiness and sometimes vulgar behavior he had a good heart. He was a very interesting character who, in my opinion, didn't have all the focus I think he deserved.
Anna was more classically presented and she wanted a loving marriage. I understand her reaction when things went wrong and after her husband died. It certainly couldn't be easy to accept someone just because of a physical likeness.
Their relationship started rocky and mutually suspicious but small things and the need to uncover the truth led them to learn things about one another and to keep the pretense to find out who Nick really was. With time they started to fall in love although things were never easy or simple because there were always things to know, to solve, new findings...
The romance was OK, I guess. It wasn't as magical as some love stories I've read but it was entertaining enough to make me happy when the couple finally got their HEA.
As for the plot, a couple of things made this a bit exaggerated and I think sometimes the need to put drama in evidence to, perhaps, get a heavier reaction from the reader is a bit too much and in this book I felt that. Maybe it's just me.
All in all, I was glad enough with this story. I think the evolution of the two main characters was the focus of this story and that was good enough. I liked there was forgiveness and second chances enough to make this uplifting.
I don't think this is one of those books that stays in our memory like an epic romance but it did offer what it could and did its job.