A hardened veteran of war, inveterate rogue Ian Eversea keeps women enthralled, his heart guarded and his options open: why should he succumb to the shackles of marriage when devastating good looks and Eversea charm make seduction so easy?
When Ian is forced to call her on her game, he never dreams the unmasked Tansy—vulnerable, brave, achingly sensual—will tempt him beyond endurance. And fight as he will, this notorious bachelor who stood down enemies on a battlefield might finally surrender his heart...and be brought to his knees by love.
Comment: This is the 9th installment in the Pennyroyal Green series by author Julie Anne Long. As I keep repeating over and over, I've enjoyed all books so far by the author, all titles in this series included.
Therefore, I was very confident this story would also be amazing, and I was curious about Ian and how his HEA would finally happen, after so many adventures!
In the end, though, I have to acknowledge that every author has weaker books and this, for me, has to be one of ms Long's ones...
The book begins with the reader getting to know miss Danforth, an American heiress now the ward of the duke of Falconbridge (book #5) and it's his job to take care of and find a suitable husband for her. Tansy Danforth seems to be a wonderful girl, very angelic and she could the belle of the season. She knows she is destined to marry well but that doesn't avoid her from being attracted to Ian even though she doesn't like him much.
Ian also doesn't like her much, he sees right through her act of humility and modesty and fears she might put in jeopardy the happiness of his sister Olivia. But after a scaring event, they start to bond and fall in love...
Oh yes, I was disappointed. I'll explain why and I still wonder why the author had to chose this path for Ian... I don't agree with the heroine for him and imagined someone completely different for him...
The thing is, after a relatively long series where characters show up and we know things about them it's expected their stories have to be interesting and likable. Knowing Ian is a sort of rake without much care unless it's about his family, I was hoping his story to be amazing and special and that his heroine would be someone that could challenge but steady him. I didn't see that happen, no matter how the story ended.
I understand the author is queen of all decisions and I think I follow her idea about this romance - especially the connection to Falconbridge - but I hoped for more from an author that ahs been perfect in my eyes and that has delivered wonderfully magical but balanced stories. So many people liked this so, as always, it's a matter of personal opinion, but I sincerely had hoped for better.
My problem was with the heroine and the relationship between her and Ian.
I mean, it's great he changed his ways at the end of the book but I don't feel he really thought about changing, it just was something that suited the plot. That kind of felt wrong to me, his personality and behavior wasn't exactly justified but I let it pass because the other things were worse, I think.
I disliked Tansy for the most part and that ruined my enjoyment of the book and my expectations about how it should end. I really wanted someone different for Ian. Tansy is immature, conceited and fake. She might have sadness and regrets and sorrow in her past - almost all heroines/heroes do - but I didn't like her personality or the fact the act she put to impress others was such a part of her, that the distinction between what she wanted others to see and who she was seemed inconsequential.
She acted angelic and perfect and innocent but she knew how her behavior influenced others and the impact in had in men, especially. She had a goal, she wanted others to think her innocent but she liked to flirt and to tease. I don't think this is a type or person I'd like to meet or be friends with and I had a hard time reading about her. I guess I wanted her to have a softer or more practical hidden side and not a capricious or selfish one.
In the end she looks redeemed, she wants happiness and love but I never thought she should have it with Ian, you know? Even more so because they disliked each other and the jump to love was unbelievable and meaningless.
The romance between the main couple was really strange, from one opposite to another so quickly without a believable connection and there to justify a HEA in the end. I really thought this was weak and avoidable. It was hard to swallow they end up together because neither seemed to have learned anything from being together and also what improved them by being together. I really can't imagine their life as a steady couple even if I see it in the next books, at least not the way I always envisioned the other couples after their book was done.
Anyway, all authors have books we prefer less, I think this must be it for me when it comes to this series. the author's style and trademark writing are there but...this wasn't very good for me, I'm afraid.