Oh boy Philip Hawthorne you are confusing the crap out of me. This guy takes the cake for the most arrogant haughty uptight judgmental hero I've read about so far. Plus wishy washy thrown in there too. I just don't understand him. He loves to remind the heroine every two seconds how she's beneath him in class "Your position is far below mine" yet turns around telling her he's never
treated her like a servant. Uh huh. How does that work now? She grew up as part of the working class, you PAYED HER OFF when she wanted to marry your brother at the age of 15, banished her, insult her at every turn, love to remind her on a daily basis how inferior her existence is to you, yet you NEVER treated her like a servant? Pick a damn side. Can't have it both ways there buddy.
.....Yeah 2 seconds away from throwing this out the window. There's only so much contradictory silliness I can take. ***Update:
Managed to finish this but with a lot
of skimming and skipping parts. The plot was very dry and dull. The blurb sounded interesting but the actual story left a lot to be desired. Besides my issues w/ the hero Philip there were two things that didn't work. First, I was a little bit confused about the time setting of this book and how the characters interacted. I thought it was unrealistic and confusing to read about an unmarried woman (no matter her station) opening up her own business, burrowing money from a rich Duchess and having a man visit her at late hours with no one batting an eye. It was completely inaccurate to the historical period this book takes place in. I had to suspend belief and try to swallow the idea of the heroine Maria being able to open her own business by HERSELF and run around alone with no one raising an eyebrow. Yeah. Right. It's the 1800s, stuff like that doesn't fly in English society. She wasn't shunned or turned away for any of it which made no sense. I understand this was a more 'progressive' Victorian era maybe? but still... it was reaching and so unrealistic.
Second, the hero in this was supposed to be secretly in 'lust' with Maria for years since they were kids and as it turns out has loved her since childhood. That was the most outrageous thing about this whole story. I had a really hard time buying it. His declaration at the end while sweet fell short and so forced considering through most of the book he was degrading her, badgering her, trying to kick her out of her shop, bossing her around and giving her ultimatums and here I'm supposed to believe he's loved her this whole time? Yeah sorry don't buy it. It was too contrived for me. His reasoning for buying her off when she was 15 was kinda reaching for me. I just didn't believe it considering the action behind his words. Or rather lack there of. If you secretly are in love with a woman you don't try to humiliate and belittle her at every turn. And he even kept admitting he didn't understand his 'attraction' to her and seemed rather pissed off by it. Um...what? Makes no sense. That doesn't sound like 'love' to me. It was very contradictory for me and so inconsistent.
Yeah so overall, wasn't working for me. It had some nice parts, I liked Maria but found myself not caring much for the over all story or the characters. Bleh.