Max and Juliet are caught kissing at a party. Max offers to do the right thing and marry her, but Juliet marries a rich old aristocrat instead, because reasons. Flash forward to present day, Juliet is now a widow and Max is a marquess, and they’ve become frenemies. Max resents her because he was in love with her, whereas she had misinterpreted his kiss as one of comfort. She truly was an innocent because his kiss was all passion and hunger, and I don’t know how she could see it otherwise. Juliet’s problem is that she is an awful communicator, and she’s not very self-aware. Since their past carried forward, they are now adversaries, though their banter and teasing has a flirtatious edge. Predictably but delightfully, enemies become lovers.
The rest of the story is about whether or not they will get married because Juliet wants to remain an independent women. I thought Juliet’s caution was rather realistic. Marriage is a big decision, especially with an aristocratic who will want heirs to inherit is his title, land, estates, money, and all his other privileges. Juliet is in a unique position because she doesn’t have to marry for money unlike many women in regency novels who marry because they have very few options in life if they want to maintain their standard of living. I liked that in this case it was the man who pined after a woman, who had never fallen out of love with his first love, rather than a woman who pined after the man she lost long ago. Juliet is a pragmatic woman, while Max is the romantic.
I wasn’t really interested in the secondary characters. I wanted more scenes between Max and Juliet instead of scenes with the secondary characters just talking, especially because their conversations weren’t very funny or entertaining. I’m not sure I liked how Juliet decided how to declare her feelings and came up with all kinds of strategies to resolve their conflicts. IMO, all she had to do was communicate with Max openly and honestly. Her declaration of love was rather corny in the end, while Max’s declaration seemed much sweeter and authentic.
*ARC received from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.