Dear Mr. Thorne,
I give you fair warning. I intend to do whatever I must to abide by your late uncle's will and win Mill House. Though I know he never expected me to succeed, and for whatever reasons is using me to shame you, I accept his challenge. For the next five years, I will profitably manage this estate. I will deliver to you an allowance and I will prove that women are just as capable as men. And at the end, I shall accept Mill House as my reward.
My Dear Miss Bede,
Forgive me if I fail to shudder. Pray, do whatever you bloody well want, can, or must. I shall look forward to making your acquaintance in my lawyer's office five years hence, when I take possession of Mill House.
Comment: This is the first book by this author I've tried. I had heard of this author before, she has quite a name among the romance community for a few months ago I got this book from amazon marketplace and now I decided to try it and see if I'd like it as much as some of the people whose tastes re similar to mine did.
In this book we meet Lily Bede, a young woman who, though certain circumstances, receives an odd inheritance: if, for a determined period of time she can make a profit of a certain propriety, she will be the heir of it after the said time. If not, it will be the closest male of the late owner who will inherit. The family connection is complicated but Lily feels she will try her best to be successful. However, she also exchanges letters with her enemy and contender for the propriety, Avery Thorne.
With time it seems their debates over everything get more and more outrageous but when they finally meet in person, can they ignore what has become obvious to all around them?
In this book we have one of the best tropes of romance (for me at least) which is the enemies to lovers. Along with opposites attracted, difference of classes, ugly ducking, marriage of convenience and sometimes the fish out of water - when one of the characters doesn't feel they belong to a certain setting - this trope is one of those that usually works as catnip for me.
This means I was very eager to see how the characters would interact, how the scenes with them would show us the way things were between them and I was really looking for to see the battle of will and the eventual realization they were actually falling in love, as if they couldn't help it. I really like it when an author manages to convey these ideas well.
The story is quite rich in all the details I've mentioned but at the same time, no matter how romantic some things were, no matter how understandable Lily's reasons wee for her to take a position in being proper, in being independent, in being thoughtful in relation to her surroundings, I still felt like she was a little too stubborn. This is what makes me more annoyed at myself: I think a contemporary heroine like Lily would be perfection for me, but in an historical setting, I would have preferred her to have understood her feelings a little sooner, only because when she finally does, we have the epilogue right after and it almost feels like we, the reader, couldn't "enjoy" it.
In contemporaries, an independent woman is more acceptable to me to like if she waits to be confident of her feelings, of her choices, or if she doesn't give in to the hero just because.
Avery is a good hero, though. Sweet, but with flaws. I was really happy with the way he saw Lily, how he fell for her and instead of being all moody about it or pretending it was not happening, he quite quickly admitted to himself he was.
The relationship between them developed in a sort of predictable way but it was sweet to see. I think, however, that some situations, mostly emotional understandings, took a bit too long to happen, especially after repeated scenes/dialogues where they debate why they can't simply be together as a married couple. Then, the solution is too quick and removes some intensity from all the prior drama and I felt this could have been done better.
Nevertheless all my pet peeves about this, I still enjoyed reading it, I still had a good time getting to know these characters and of course I liked the epilogue although it also focused in things/people I'd switch with the main couple instead but...entertaining for the most part, yes.