Until he shows up in London too, and Cassandra finds herself sharing a house with the most infuriating man in England.
Joshua DeWitt has his life exactly how he wants it. He has no need of a wife disrupting everything, especially a wife intent on reforming his behavior. He certainly has no need of a wife who is intolerably amiable, insufferably reasonable...and irresistibly kissable.
As the unlikely couple team up to battle a malicious lawsuit and launch Cassandra's wayward sister, passion flares between them. Soon the day must come for them to part...but what if one of them wants their marriage to become real?
Comment: Another buddy read with my friend H.
This book received many positive reviews last year which means it turned out to be in many best of lists as well. I saw the blurb and got curious so naturally it was no surprise I'd feel inclined to try it myself but I must say it didn't quite meet my expectations.
In this historical romance we meet Cassandra DeWitt, a young woman used to take charge of her estate and her family, something possible because she got married two years ago and although she and her husband live apart, the married status allows her to accomplish a lot.
However, the life at the estate isn't a great one and overwhelmed Cassandra can't seem tog et anything right with her family members, especially younger sisters Lucy and Emily.
Lucy is about to enter marriageable age and with her issues, Cassandra feels she needs to try to find a way for her to be sponsored so she travels to London to find their grandmother and on the attempt, she reconnects with her husband, whom she only met once or twice.
They seemed to have agreed on a marriage in name only but now, forced to interact, will they find out there's more to the other than just a convenience?
This is usually catnip for me, the marriage of convenience trope. I was eager to see how the author would treat the situation, how the distance between happened, how the getting together would be, how powerful their feelings would turn out to be too.. and in some parts, it did feel as if this was accomplished, while in others I feel things were left somewhat lacking.
Being also the first book by this author, I wasn't aware about the writing style but it was an easy story to follow. I suppose what made me not appreciate this more was the way the characters just reached some conclusions on their own minds and then the acting on those ideas interacting with others didn't match the same conclusion. For instance, at some point the heroine wrongly assumed something about another person, but when she had the possibility to act on her apologies, the action takes her to that moment but the result feels very superficial, as if her actions didn't matter because she had already got there mentally (even if she didn't).
It was a little frustrating to read about improvement when the action didn't have a follow up... I was glad several miscommunication issues were solved but for me there wasn't a real emotion behind them.
I think the central relationship was interesting but it wasn't the kind of hurt/comfort I expected. At first it seemed it would be so but I struggled to see the matching emotions to the supposed hard scenes. The characters went through the motions but I didn't always see the emotional content suited what they were going through. I mean, the scene was there, the words were there but it just wasn't as amazing and brilliant as I wanted it to be.
Cassandra is a good heroine, a little on the martyr side which I actually tend to appreciate, but her going from it to demanding things for herself didn't feel as suited to her personality. I just think it felt she was pushed into the role of being demanding and Id have preferred her to remain quieter. I can't really explain.
Josh, her husband, was a more intriguing character and I think his evolution felt more natural. I still think, though, his emotions could have been worked better.
The romance wasn't very romantic. There were cute and supposedly heartfelt scenes but like I said, I didn't always felt the balance was there between the scene and the character's feelings.
I expected some more passion, not int he intimacy moments, but in their dealings with one another. Witty banter is amazing but I don't think sexual tension was portrayed in the best way to make this feel magical to me, it was rather automatic in how things developed.
The secondary characters had a lot to be said about them and sometimes there was no real explanation on why they mattered so much or why they behaved that way, namely Cassandra's younger sisters. There were many characters, several issues to explore among them all while the attention had to be in the main couple too, so it felt as if there was too much going on, and not all with a satisfying resolution.
It's not as if the story is bad because it isn't but the further along I went, the more picky I felt regarding the way the story is told. Perhaps it's one of those situations of "it's me, not you" that we say when it feels there's a problem but others might not see it that way.
All in all, this was a good debut novel, interesting elements but the writing wasn't always as well used to suit the type of story being told. I might read another, to see if this is just the way the author writes or if it was the story itself that led to the execution being like this... but perhaps not so soon.