I couldn't resist the blurb on this one. I'm kind of frustrated by this book. It could have been brilliant but the author chose the self-published route and the lack of guidance and editing really shows.
What I liked:
Funny! The author presents her characters in a wry, self-effacing way, allowing the reader in on the joke of all their awkwardness and misunderstandings.
The cute chapter titles. An enticing and apt foreshadowing of each section as well as being in keeping with the writing styles of the time (or so I imagine. It felt authentic).
The charming awkwardness between the MC's.
Jem's nightly visits to Prudence's bedchamber.
The heroine is smart and independent.
The hero. Sexy and endearingly useless at expressing himself.
What I didn't like:
I wasn't surprised to see this was a self-published book when I finished. The writing wasn't great. It lacked detail and emotion and struggled to pull me into the story. Especially at the beginning. Once the MC's finally met at about 25% it improved.
The MC's are apart for a lot of the book and I did end up skimming in the second half. The big misunderstanding and lack of communication at the end was dragged out to the nth degree. Could have been done a lot better.
The hero has sex with another woman at the beginning of the story which is fine but the sex scene was SO detailed. Why??
I didn't like that it was ok for Ainsworth's brother to have groped a maid but it was not ok for him to have groped a lady. Even though that accurately reflects morals at the time it stuck in my craw that Prudence and Ainsworth both agreed so readily on this. They seemed so forward-thinking and lacking in class-consciousness in every other way.
At this stage I don't know if I'll continue with the rest of the series and I still feel disappointed that these books weren't professionally published. What a missed opportunity!