Cassandra Pomfret holds strong opinions she isn’t shy about voicing. But her extremely plain speaking has caused an uproar, and her exasperated father, hoping a husband will rein her in, has ruled that her beloved sister can’t marry until Cassandra does. Now, thanks to a certain wild-living nobleman, the last shreds of Cassandra’s reputation are about to disintegrate, taking her sister’s future and her family’s good name along with them. The Duke of Ashmont’s looks make women swoon. His character flaws are beyond counting. He’s lost a perfectly good bride through his own carelessness. He nearly killed one of his two best friends. Still, troublemaker that he is, he knows that damaging a lady’s good name isn’t sporting. The only way to right the wrong is to marry her…and hope she doesn’t smother him in his sleep on their wedding night. (x)
The ARC of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
I went into this with not a little trepidation. I loved the first so much, and it was my first Loretta Chase. So how could I not be let down by the second? Reader, I wasn’t.
To start with, Cassandra is steadfast in her beliefs, but still willing to change as she learns more. But even as she holds firm to those beliefs, she questions herself and provides answers—as we should all do in life.
Lucius is wonderful throughout. I trusted the author to do him justice, but I know it must have been an ordeal to undertake the writing of his character after the way he acted in the first book. When he realizes his faults and what the wrong choices are, he reverses. He corrects them so as never to make them again. As the story progresses, he strives to improve himself to become worthy of Cassandra’s respect, trust, and love.
I thought I could have done without the scheming of Mr. Owlsey and Lady Bartham, but, as I read on, I changed my mind. It was necessary, not only to show how starkly different Ashmont is from Owsley, but also to allow the women of the story some very important agency. Lady Bartham is a villain here with her half-witted male accomplice, Cassandra does not cower but instead does the sensible thing we so often wish to see from our heroines, and her mother is the one to save the day. As Wollstonecraft outlined in her famous text, a man and wife should be friends who help each other, and that is exactly what Cassandra and Lucius become throughout the story.
For all that and the masterful handling of the characters and story, I must give the book five shining stars.