the author has drawn the complex characters very well. Marissa is, on the surface, a spoilt and over-indulged duke's daughter, and Tristan - to whose home she has been exiled as a temporary punishment - believes that this is precisely what she is. But her disgraceful behaviour hides an independent spirit and justifiable motives.
At first, the two appear to loathe each other; Tristan certainly disapproves of Marissa, and she resents his disapproval to such a degree that she refuses to explain herself to him. But gradually, each discovers that the other is not what they appear to be. Tristan discovers that Marissa is caring, loyal, intelligent and virtuous; Marissa discovers and admires Tristan's strong sense of duty and loyalty, demonstrated in his struggle to stay afloat financially and to take care of his mother and sister.