I saved this book for last because of the three I was trying to decide on, the back cover appealed the least to me. After the first several chapters, I realized I was wrong.
The hero is one of those dark characters haunted by his past, but strong physically and in character. No one crosses him without due punishment.
The heroine is from a large and loving family (who I loved reading about) and is the object of "revenge". She of course is smart enough to not fall for it, so I was quite happy to realize that this was not to be the conflict at the end of the story.
The ending also had a tiny twist of surprise that I did not expect. All in all, a good read.
PS - the opening scene is a bit unusual as it isn't actually from the hero or heroine's point of view, but once you figure it out, it fits. (I point that out as I was a bit confused at first:)
Loved it! Very emotional, sensuous story. We have a hero, Alex the duke, who starts of on a path of vengeance, and a plain heroine Genevieve who's fixated on another. Although focused on her unrequited (in her mind) love for another, Genevieve nonetheless is very sharp, quickly ascertaining Alex's intent when he pursues her. Alex wants to punish Genevieve's brother for bedding (almost) Alex's fiancee. He caught them "in flagrante delicto". So Alex plans to seduce Genevieve and discard her.
The plan goes sideways as Alex gets to know Genevieve. She's not quite the plain, quiet, calm, properly-behaved, loving, young lady she portrays. She is very good and loving and that's the problem because no one senses that she has depth. Alex is seen as haughty, cold and callous. A loner. But he's not. He has suffered in the past and deep down is looking for love.
The interaction between the h/h is off-hand at first, building up to sweet, sometimes funny, then intense, as they gradually acknowledge their deep attraction to each other.
The supporting cast is nicely done, too, not one-dimensional afterthoughts by the author.
JAL is one of my favorite authors and this book is definitely one I'm putting in my keeper shelf. Very satisfying and I highly recommend!
He's almost 40 and she's only 20, a huge age-gap in my opinion. Some might be turned off. I was at first but the love story more than made up for it.
All of the Pennyroyal Green books I've read so far are well written, often funny, and always touching, but this one may be my favorite yet. Lots of wry humor and emotion. It all takes place during a country house visit, so there is not a lot of extraneous plot action. No spies, kidnappings, amnesia, horrible misconceptions or impossible obstacles keeping the lovers apart. It's just a great character driven story. I loved Genevieve and the Duke. She's pretty much on to his little games right from from the beginning, and he is also able to see through her serene surface. It's also a lot of fun to watch the Duke put her brother Ian through some well-deserved psychological torture. I highly recommend it. I have been reading the series in order, but I don't think it's strictly necessary, and the main characters from the previous books barely appear in this one. But since they are all worth reading, why would you want to skip any of them?