I've always liked this book. It has one of my favorite romance tropes -- a marriage of convenience -- and the hero and heroine are relatable, flawed people who give me something to root for. In addition, the plot itself is interesting and the supporting cast is strong enough that readers clamored for Catherine Anderson to write stories for the brothers. That being said, as much as I like this book, one this re-read there are aspects that bother me more now than when I first read it a decade ago. It's a good story, but I wouldn't put it in my top ten.
I'm conscious of how much I've changed as a person and a reader in the last decade or so. Ace as a hero is problematic by today's writing standards. He accepts Caitlyn's offer to sacrifice herself for her brother, and then is very ambiguous about calling it off. When the scandal spreads, he decides he needs to marry her for her own sake and doesn't fight too hard when Caitlyn's brother pulls of a shot gun marriage. Ace is a capable enough guy that I'm sure he could have ended that situation without forcing Caitlyn into a marriage she did not want. He's even given the opportunity for an invalid ceremony, but doesn't take it. I actually started to root for Caitlyn to run away and make it to San Francisco and to get away from the men in her life constantly making decisions for her.
Ace spends most of the book doing this -- making decisions for Caitlyn and talking her into thinking they're for her own good. He might be right, but it would have been nice to have Caitlyn be less passive. I do put myself into the time period and realize that Ace is relatively progressive for the time period, and his actions in the beginning of the book are something he immediately regrets and is taken to task to by his own family. Still, I can't get away from the idea that I'm not convinced Caitlyn would have fallen in love with Ace if he hadn't forced her into marriage, and then by the end of the book, I'm more convinced she's making the best of the situation in her life. Which is fine and commendable, but leaves me a little sad for her. She never did get to live in San Francisco and enjoy the opera once a week.
Overall Response I’ve always liked this book. It has one of my favorite romance tropes — a marriage of convenience — and the hero and heroine are relatable, flawed people who ...