This is the second Eloisa James book I have read. So far I have really liked her characters, especially the hero in this one. Gowan Stoughton starts out a pretty straight forward guy. He likes to get things done in their prim proper order. And now it's time for him to pick out a wife. He decides that since the fellow he has a business question for is holding a ball, he will look for a wife there.Ergo, two birds with one stone. He preferred three or four birds with a single stone, but sometimes one had to settle for less.
I'm a sucker for stand up type guys falling for wild child type women. But I also like the fact that James didn't take it too far. Gowan and Edie aren't complete opposites constantly conflicting. Gowan thought her one way when they meet at the ball because she was acting demure and serene. In fact she was out of her mind with fever and pretty much has no memory of that evening. But she agrees with his proposal because it is what her father wants. I LOVED that they actually start their relationship through letters and Gowan reads a completely different side to Edie, a flirtatious sexy side, one that he is completely intrigued by. So they do like each other and the other's personality, mostly. But they do have issues.
Their main conflict actually ends up being an intimacy issue. One that could have been solved if Edie had just been honest with Gowan in the beginning, but I do understand her fears in doing so. Her fears are pretty much justified when she finally does talk to Gowan. He reacts very strongly. His insecurities come forward and his need for presenting a perfect persona override his compassion and love for Edie.
What also doesn't help their marriage beginnings is their obsessions. Edie is masterful with the cello and needs her hours of daily practice time with the instrument. And Gowan is work obsessed. Their alone time is very limited. They have to learn that their lives are no longer their own and how to share themselves.
Their conflicts I found refreshing and the resolutions beautifully done. Also I found the epilogue to be the best type of sappy. I liked this one very much.
ARC provided through Edelweiss.