I LOVED this book. It truly expressed how many pulls in different directions one may feel inside when making an important decision. Other reviewers criticized this book because of it but this is exactly what can happen in real life. You may feel tormented when making a decision and that does not make a story bad. I highly recommend this book. Wonderful romance and of course a handsome hero and beautiful heroine. Who can ask for more? :)
One of the Amazon reviewers wrote this condensed version about the book which I enjoyed reading, so here it is:
"Alex Christian, the Duke of Sutherland, carries a lot of responsibility on his shoulders. He is, of course, known in all of England because he is a duke, terribly handsome, very rich, single, young, and extremely influential politically. As he believes it is time for him to marry and produce an heir, he has requested the hand of an important political ally's daughter in marriage two years previously. They will be married within six months. He doesn't love the girl but is fond of her and knows she will make a great duchess. He is yet another one of those heroes that think love for a spouse is neither realistic nor desirable. Then his well-ordered life takes a sudden shift. He is hunting at his country lodge when he stumbles upon a country lady having a disagreement with a belligerent hog. He is so taken with her that he extends his hunting trip just to be around her. He knows it is all nonsense because of all his duke duties but cannot resist her for a little while. During this two-week period, their relationship is innocent and sweet. But his responsibilities require him to return to London and Alex never expects to see the lovely country lady again although it makes him very sad.
Lauren Hill is that lovely country lady. Although her speech, education, and mannerisms proclaim her a lady, she first encounters Alex as she is singing to a hog in a cornfield right before the animal charges her and she leaps over the fence and into Alex's arms. For the next two weeks, he observes her perform all sorts of manual chores and even sees her wearing her brother's old pants and shirt. He is shocked but pleasantly surprised to find that she has five wards, orphans, who she cares for and loves deeply. Lauren is totally taken with Alex and finds herself in love with him. She has no idea that he is a duke. Lauren lives on a run down country estate with her uncle, brother, housekeeper, a mentally challenged boarder, and the five orphans. She is desperately attempting to make a living from the old estate. Her uncle wants to her to marry and better their situation but Lauren has no desire to marry again.
Lauren's uncle, some years previous, had bartered her in marriage to a very old Count from Germany. She was married to the old Count for two years prior to his death. Since she had not provided him with an heir - a portion of the marriage agreement - she returned her inheritance, as his Countess, to the next Count and returns home to England penniless, much to her uncle's chagrin.
Now fast-forward four months to London. Lauren's uncle has forced her back into society so that she may marry well once again. She is introduced everywhere in London by her married title of Countess. Imagine both Alex and Lauren's great surprise when they encounter each other at a party and find that each bears a title. Neither one of them is very happy with the other because of the little secrets they have both withheld. However, Lauren is ecstatic to see Alex and then heartbroken when she is informed that he is engaged and will be married in two months.
Now the real story begins and it is a roller coaster. Lauren's uncle is blackmailing her to remarry well. She cannot waste time with Alex but he won't leave her alone. He seems to be everywhere she goes and although he believes he can never marry Lauren, he is obsessed with her. Of course, several very eligible men are pursuing Lauren and are very serious in marrying her. This makes Alex crazy with jealousy".
What a superbly clever written book. It had some great lines that truly made me laugh out loud. The storyline was also well thought of and characters well developed. As much as I try not to read books in a series I’ll have to make an exception in this case. If the next two books are as filled with clever one-liners, then I can’t wait. Can’t believe I got this book on sale for $4.99 but once the sale is gone, it will still be worth the credit for those who are looking for not just a good story, but light humor.
Finally. A book where characters are mature and don't self doubt or go on with their contradicting mind babble. I really enjoyed reading this book. The story was very well balanced and believable. I also loved that she fell in love with his character and not looks. So tired of romance books that are solely based on looks. Great job by Mary Balogh, fun read, good narration.