This novel started off with all the witty banter, ballroom glamour, and handsome aristocrats that are the hallmark of Regency romances. A duke’s daughter, Alex, is looking for fun and adventure. She has had a crush on Lord Owen since she was fifteen, when she eavesdropped on him rescuing her younger brother from bullies, and vows to one day marry him.
Owen is a typical privileged rakehell, whose parents pay for all his expenses and who doesn’t have many responsibilities as such. He donates some of his money to charity. Meanwhile, Alex’s grand adventure is her charity work giving her pretty embroidery to a poorhouse for the women to sell.
When Owen becomes engaged to Alex’s selfish and vain sister Lavinia, who dislikes Owen, Alex offers to help Owen win Lavinia’s heart in exchange for Owen’s help making her popular in society. However, this bargain is merely a ruse so that Alex can spend more time with Owen and get him to fall in love with her instead. Thus, she deceives Owen and lies to him about what Lavinia wants in a man.
I honestly did not buy their connection. It was rather superficial, because they didn’t have many get-to-know each other conversations. Aside from their dance lessons and parties, they didn’t spend a lot of time together one on one and didn’t exactly have a whirlwind romance. I thought they fell in love too quickly. Because Alex was the one who was actually doing the chasing and lying, I didn’t really get why Owen was the one groveling in the end.
Witty banter aside, the last quarter of the book was rather anticlimactic, and the sex scene felt flat. Alex’s bratty sister Lavinia on the other hand was a scene stealer. I actually liked the way she ridiculed men, and without her tantrum at the end, she would have been a much more likable character.
This wasn’t my favorite novel in the Playful Brides series, which has so far been hit or miss.
*ARC received from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.