Release Date: Nov 23, 2020
Series: Rebels of the Ton
Heat Level: Sensual
So much potential for a great story, but I wasn’t impressed.
This is my first Minerva Spencer book, and I went in blind. Now, I do see… how not all enemies-to-lovers’ tropes are equal. This story had that trope and the whole best friends older brother thing going for it. There was plenty to love: diverse cast, dastardly villains, unconventional heroine, and even the marriage of convenience.
We have Drusilla Clare, daughter of a tradesman, who isn’t seeking a husband, as she’s determined to run her own life. When caught in a compromising position with a scoundrel, she’s rescued by none other than her best friends’ stepbrother, Gabriel Marlington. Of course, Gabriel offers for her. It’s the proper done thing.
Dru is attracted to our hero, has always wanted him, but of course, she can’t tell him this or she’ll become a ninny. This is where the story went a bit off the rails for me. Drusilla is ridiculous. She keeps all her feelings to herself, doesn’t have a single meaningful conversation with her husband of convenience till long past halfway in the book. She’s prone to flights of jealousy about her husbands rumored relations with other woman.
In the meantime, Gabriel becomes jealous when Dru engages in a clandestine meeting with a business partner, he stays friends with previous mistresses, and in also doesn’t bother getting to the point of the issues via conversation. There is plenty of outside conflict from the scoundrel who put Dru in the position that forced her into marriage, a side plot with possible son of Gabriel’s born out of wedlock and more.
Ultimately, the primary conflict for over fifty percent of the book hinges around the main characters not talking to each other about their true feelings, expectations, or life happenings. Their lies by omission or silence breed conflict and create faux drama. I call it faux because when the opportunity arises to do the right thing, say the right thing, neither of them take that route. The author bases this lack of talk on the characters internal makeup and fears, but once everything comes to a head and they finally decide to act like adults this faux drama disappears and the real conflict, brought on by the antagonist, takes shape.
I have found that I despise books where the only thing keeping the hero and heroine apart is their inability to discuss things with each other. I firmly believe that there can be conflict, still fed by internal and external sources, with communication still present, and that a person can still say all the right things and those things aren’t enough to keep another person happy.
Overall, I wanted to like this book. It had the makings of an interesting story with equally interesting backdrop, but I found the flaws between hero and heroine too much of a gulf for me to cross. I wanted to slap both of them most of the time and kept reading in the hopes it would change, soon versus than the later. Ultimately, by the time things changed I was too disappointed to wish the main characters well.