Okay, first things first, let me give you the blurb on the back cover of this book:
When Damaris finds herself trapped in a compromising situation with the handsome rake Freddy Monkton-Coombes, she has no choice but to agree to wed him—as long as it’s in name only. Her new husband seems to accept her terms, but Freddy has a plan of his own: to seduce his reluctant winter bride.
Just one tiny problem: this is not what the book is about. The plot is that neither Damaris nor Freddy want to marry, but Freddy’s parents are pressuring him to find a wife and produce heirs. So he asks Damaris to be fake-engaged to him for a few weeks, to get the parents off his back, and in exchange he’s going to buy her a cottage so she can be financially independent and won’t need to marry.
I picked up this book because I liked the first in the series, so I didn’t particularly care whether the plot was about a marriage of convenience or a fake engagement. But the blurb created certain expectations, and through all the first half of the book I kept thinking that something compromising would happen and they’d have to turn the fake engagement into a real marriage, and that didn’t happen. At all. I don’t want to hold it against the author, because the blurb is usually the publisher’s doing, but it was very frustrating and I can’t help but think that it dimmed my enjoyment of the story. Plus, I would have been even more disappointed if I bought this book because I wanted to read about a shotgun wedding and ended up with a story about something else.
That said, I did enjoy this book: it was a quick and light read. Freddy was as charming and funny as I remembered from the first book, even though after he starts falling for Damaris he becomes less funny and more earnest and caring. Which is great in a boyfriend, but not so much in a fictional character, because I liked Freddy better when he was all snippy banter and devil-may-care attitude. Damaris wasn’t very developed in the first book, but I liked her in this one. She’s been through a lot but doesn’t cry over herself (much), and she knows what she wants and doesn’t suddenly change her life plans because a man is sweet on her, and she plays her role of fake fiancée with gusto. The line about experimental Chinese swimming pigs is the best and funniest in the whole book.
There wasn’t much Lady Bea in this one, or the other sisters, but I liked the brief glimpses that we got. And I’m hoping that the next book will be about Flynn and Daisy!