25yo vicar’s daughter catches masked 34yo blond Hero sneaking into her room.
He wants to have the family jewel that’s in her possession to help establish his legitimacy in high society. But he leaves without it and plans to seduce it from her instead. He pretends to be a rich gentleman visiting their village & charms her verbose father into inviting him to stay in their home.
There is, however, something about this brown-haired gentleman that heroine think is off. Their physical proximity heightens her suspicions of him. In the meantime, their verbal sparring & the odd mix of Hero’s casual flirtatiousness & quiet kindness to others intensify her attraction towards him. She is unsure, however, if his real interest is in her or the jewel. Hero becomes torn about his deceit as he comes to feel more deeply for heroine & questions where his true interest lie is as well.
What will become of them when the whole truth comes out?
It took me 4 days to finish this book. It had nothing to do with it failing to keep my interest. In fact, I was easily brought back to the characters, story, romance & overall emotional effect of the story as soon as I continued where I left off. It was as if I didn't even take a break from reading it. Now that's impressive writing! Campbell was able to pull me back in the story each time.
The characterization & the emotional tone of the book were its strongest points. I laughed at Hero & heroine’s sarcastic wit. I felt their anxiety about their secrets & insecurities. I felt the poignancy of Hero’s having to don his devil-may-care social mask that hid his pain & sensitivity about being branded a bastard & his mother a loose woman. And I became more & more assured as I read along that their love for each other would conquer all. I felt their growing emotional attachment to each other, the more they got to know each other. Their sexual chemistry became more palpable. The risks of both of their secrets getting revealed intensified. I felt their desperation, confusion, conflict, & desires. I got tangled up in their lives. And that’s what I look for in a good book.
Both Hero & heroine's self-realizations helped me connect with them. It showed their weaknesses as well as their problem-solving abilities. They had their moments of self-deprecation as well as times of self-confidence. I felt like I really knew both of them. And I liked them. They were both social misfits who hid behind certain personas. For Hero, it was his social mask of a cavalier & fashionable rake. For heroine, her dutiful-daughter mask was forced on her by her self-aggrandizing father who wouldn’t credit her for all the writing she did on his behalf for the past decade. Their verbal interactions were fiery, funny, & flirty. It was great to see them take turns getting discomfited with each other’s wit & passion. They can joke with each other yet show their vulnerability with the other, especially towards the end when they both confessed everything to each other. I liked that we were allowed to see what their life was like after their love declarations and to see them work well together. Their sexual chemistry was palpable & culminated in satisfying sex scenes. I foresee a good marriage for these 2.
I strongly recommend this book.