The Premise: Miranda Cheever has always been in love with Turner (aka Nigel Bevelstoke, Viscount Turner), since she was 10 when they first met. Turner was nice to Miranda when she was feeling unsure of herself and she always remembered this. Now, 8 years later, Miranda is starting her first season with Olivia, her best friend and Turner’s sister. While Miranda has finally grown into herself,Turner has become bitter and jaded after his marriage to a woman who cheated on him.
My Thoughts: At first when I read this book, I thought it was going to be a bit cheesy. There was a prologue. I always read prologues, but this one had Miranda’s first meeting with Turner, and her 10-year old adoration was making me think “Oh dear, is she going to adore the hero in this mushy way the whole book?” and I put it down. Yeah.. if I’d picked this up in a bookstore and read the prologue I would not have bought it. Luckily positive reviews online had me trying again. A week and a half later and started from Chapter one, and I found that I really liked the writing and liked Miranda. Phew!
This book has two of my favorite romantic tropes in it:
1) The Long Time, Secret Crush: This could go badly if the person with the crush acts ridiculous because of it. Sometimes you wince when you read some particularly awkward conversations with the object of the crush. I hate that! I was a little afraid this book would have some painful moments where the heroine acts like an idiot, but thankfully Miranda doesn’t. She’s always practical and quick witted and doesn’t let Turner get away with things even though she loves him. And she thinks before speaking, which made me like her.
2) Beauty and the Beast – Not so much that Miranda is a beauty and Turner looks like a beast, but Miranda does affect his “beastly” attributes over the course of the book. The relationship between Miranda and Turner evolves slowly in the first half of the book, and their verbal banter was great. Turner kisses Miranda early in the book when he was drunk and he does other big jerk things which Miranda makes him feel ashamed about. He was an imperfect hero, but his redemption via Miranda made me like the book.
Now to the peeve I had reading this. The last quarter of the book had me thinking to myself that it could have ended earlier. This is because it involves the good ol’ romantic cliche “He has never said those three words to me”. The writing was still pretty great, but while I do believe Turner had his issues because of his first wife, his inability to say the words for so long coupled with Miranda’s insistence he say them started to annoy me, particularly since he acted like he did love her?! So.. Argh, *shakes fist*. In any case I can see the ending being satisfying to others who are less irritable over this type of thing.
Overall: Despite annoyance with the ending (which others may or may not share depending on their level of tolerance), I liked this one. I will be reading more from this author if she writes more characters with dialog like this.