Okay, so a pretty cover, a good title, and an enticing blurb lured me into buying the book.
I almost stopped reading it and put it aside no fewer than three times. I convinced myself to finish reading it, not because I cared what happened to the characters (hint: I didn’t), but to make myself at least think about why this didn’t work for me.
I mean, it had *so* much catnip in it for me.
- The Duke of Watterly is jeeringly referred to as “Saint Simon”. You all know my love of white knights.
- A heroine who loves literature and fairy tales
- A chance meeting that leads to a marriage of convenience
- The ticking clock of the duke going to “die” in six months
Except, the author gives me none of it.
Simon is a saint only because the author tells me he is. He lies to the heroine repeatedly, treats her poorly, and is really just a whiny cabbage. I have no idea why she feels anything for him, and while I get his attraction to her, I am never really sold on it. I need my white knights to show me their shiny armor, not just have an author tell me it’s there. Especially when what they show me is something else entirely.
Yes, the heroine likes literature and fairy tales. Sold.
The chance meeting is…lackluster. This is usually totally catnip for me where I am turning the pages as they spend the night together, even if nothing actually happens. But the anticipation that it could…except it gets interrupted by a small child. And the villain.
And the villain is so bad, not only does he literally have a handlebar mustache, but he attempts to rape the heroine more than once and is revealed, without laying any prior groundwork, to be insane in the last few chapters. *eye roll*
This is a low heat novel. Not much more than a few kisses and pets. Closed door romance can still have intensity. It didn’t.
This ticking clock is completely contrived and could be made to untick all at the duke’s whim. I get why he is all upset at not being the “legitimate” duke, but for a man so bent on that, he certainly doesn’t seem to care about the people on his lands, his duty, or those that rely on him. There should have been *WAY* more angst over this for a “saint”. Or maybe even some. And, of course, his saintly ways didn’t include denying himself the woman he loved even though he knew having her would break her heart. Yeah, real saint, this one.
The ending was so anticlimactic, I actually played some video games before finally getting around to finishing the book.
All in, it felt like the author took some of my favorite tropes, mixed them together, and forgot to turn on the oven.