To achieve his ambitions, Quint Childers, Lord Valentine, needs a wife, some charming, gracious lovely to play the perfect hostess... certainly not a brash, stubborn hellion like Catherine Fullbright. Why, then, is he mesmerized by the fiery chit? And when an old man's deception puts Catie in Quint's bed, why does the prospect of their union excite the handsome lord so? Winning the remarkable lady's love will be a trial - she doesn't even like him! Still, is that a glint of desire he sees flashing in those exquisite hazel eyes?
This is the first book I try by this author. I've had it in the pile for years but somehow, along with other titles, it has been left behind. I had nothing to expect, but I did create an idea about it, since it was historical, published in the 00's and by Avon, whose editions made me think of certain stories (lighter, less dramatic), especially due to the font they used. I know this shouldn't matter, but it is quite a distracting font for me, always making me imagine less serious work.
Nevertheless, at first, I was enjoying this story quite well because the main character was being mistreated and I tend to like when someone grows to be a good person despite that, proving it's all in the personality and moral code. I think I've started to be rather disappointed when it seemed that the tone of this story would be more towards the easy comedy... I got that impression from Catie's personality, she simply seemed childish to me. I suppose this can be accepted, she was only 20 and disinclined to marry but... this is also an historical and I would assume some formality would happen too.
Catie is just too childish. Her behavior and notions can be innocent and genuine, but I just couldn't see that someone like Quint, whom we get to see is responsible and experienced in all aspects of life, would feel more than physical attraction for her, their personalities simply don't mesh and although the author did try to make this happen, I was not convinced. The romance felt forced at times and the sudden plot dramas just didn't help, I felt they didn't have time to truly be a couple.
I guess I can easily portray this as vintage in my head, in the sense that we have opposite protagonists and the man is older and wiser and can't help be a role model for the heroine, and likes her quirkiness instead of seeing her as a child. This is even more obvious since we know he has a political life and would want a wife who could help him. Yes, yes, love and all that, but I feel the relationship wasn't really well done and one element of the couple would always be, realistically, let down.
I think that if some situations had been dealt with in a more serious manner (Catie's abuse at home, how a true marriage works, for instance), we could sympathize with the characters more and wish to see them overcome the problems and the issues. I would say this story is planned and the author certainly imagines many of the scenes quite well, but the action of putting everything together and make it work wasn't as well achieved, in my perspective.