ARC received for an honest review
This was a fun and cute read. I always like stories with the socially awkward or underdog girl gets the hero. Sue Green is definitely all the above. She is basically on the shelf or will be soon and her mother pointedly tells her that she will be shipped off to live with her aunt as her companion if she does not find a husband this season. Sue, although pretty, is not as gorgeous as her sister-Evangeline. She loves painting and really likes to be her own person. She feels very restricted by the rules of the ton and society. Lord Holden Ellis is a handsome and your typical has-it-all guy. He meets “Suzanne”, who is really Sue, one night when she is at a ball disguised. He can’t get her out of his mind and tries to find her again. Sue knows who Holden is but knows that she does not stand a chance with him. As Sue and Holden are thrown together they develop a sweet friendship that eventually escalates to a romantic relationship.
Although, I liked this story and found it pleasing, I had some issues. First, the whole disguised scenario, I think was not well played out. It seemed too unbelievable. I mean, Holden deduces that the only person that seems like “Suzanne” is Sue but he is still searching for her like a madman… This was a little too much… Then Sue’s cousins, who seemed very trivial to the story are always setting Sue and Holden up to meet. They send him a note and she also receives a note to meet in the library. He instantly knows it’s her, “Suzanne”, but it’s too dark to see. This scene really ruined the story for me because it was not believable. The other issue I had was Sue’s mother. She was so unkind and cruel that it bordered on abusive. She was so degrading to Sue it was sad and made me feel horrible for her. The mother just cares about a title and getting a very wealthy husband for her daughter Evangeline and really only directs her attention at Sue to criticize her. Finally, Holden has a lot of secrets. He is definitely not who he appears and it was difficult to figure out if the story was light and funny (like some of the light moments that Sue and Holden share) or if it was dark (some of the secrets that are discovered). As the story unravels there are many secrets that come to light that are serious and really life threatening. In my opinion, there was too much going on. But I did enjoy the story and I did think that Sue and Holden eventually made a good couple. I also really liked Lillian and Devon Grey, the Mad Duke of Thornwood their stories seem to intertwine with this one. I plan to read “Must Love Dukes (Tricks of the Ton #2) as I saw how Lillian and Grey have a great history and great chemistry.
Finally, after Sue and Holden confess their love and find their way to each other, many more layers to their relationship surface and I loved that Sue was able to stand up for herself and be treated like she deserved! Also, I really liked Evangeline and think there was more to her than was seen in this story. I’m hoping that the author will give her her own time to find true love and we can learn who she really is aside from who her mother is presenting her to be. As I mentioned, before this story really does have a lot of different elements to it and it keeps the reader engaged. There were many “surprises” I was not expecting.