Imogen, the Portrait Divorcee, is living in the dowager house of her friend Lady Somercote. George, Lady Somercote, has invited guests (including her...moreImogen, the Portrait Divorcee, is living in the dowager house of her friend Lady Somercote. George, Lady Somercote, has invited guests (including her friend Gabriel) over for a party. Imogen and Gabriel meet at the beginning of the party and become attracted to one another. Gabriel immediately decides to use his time at the house party to seduce her, while Imogen decides to avoid him because she can't handle any more scandal. George is working to restore Imogen among the ton after she had been cast out for being divorced on the grounds of adultery. What follows is a game of hot and cold with Gabriel pursuing Imogen.
There was nothing wrong with the writing in this book, although it took me awhile to adjust to the abrupt way the scenes were cut, but I just couldn't ever immerse myself in the story. I never felt any depth to the characters so the storyline fell rather flat for me. I didn't like that so much time was spent on secondary characters (who I gather were the stars of a previous book) when I craved more details of why Imogen and Gabriel even liked each other beyond sex.
I think the major problem I had with the story was Imogen. I just didn't like her. She came across as rather whiny and melodramatic. It seemed like every chapter there was something new for her to have a minor drama about. I was also very bothered by her interactions with Gabriel. She wanted him but she didn't want scandal (which is understandable). She decides to have sex with him anyway but then doesn't let him know. She seemed to expect him to read her mind and sweep her off her feet so she wouldn't ever have to admit aloud that she wanted him. It seemed as though if he made all the moves she could justify it to herself because he seduced her. It just bothered me immensely.
I also didn't understand the little drama with her brother. One confrontation and he backed down? That was it? After seeing that it seemed comical that she would be afraid of him at all. It ended up giving me the impression that the drama was included only to manufacture a reason for Imogen to deny Gabriel.
Also, the separation at the end between Imogen and Gabriel made me shake my head. Can she never stick around and face a problem? Must she always be so weak that she needs to run away so she won't let her desire for Gabriel sweep her away? I just wanted to shake her and tell her to grow a backbone. Then when he finally catches up... nothing? It's like she never had a reason for leaving. It was baffling.
Overall I never got a sense of any real love between the main characters. All I felt was lust and even that fell flat for me. I have no doubt that this book will find fans. I think it's just a matter of taste and this story just didn't have a flavor I liked. (less)
This book was alright. It didn't blow me away but it kept me entertained. I'll look for the other books in the Liar's Club and see if any of them do b...moreThis book was alright. It didn't blow me away but it kept me entertained. I'll look for the other books in the Liar's Club and see if any of them do better for me.
I had a problem with Simon's spy business right away. He thought that Agatha was her brother's mistress (which I can believe) and that she might be a spy too. He kept remarking that she put everything together too well to be anything but a spy. I really started to doubt his intelligence. Agatha's logic didn't really strike me as anything special and it really made Simon seem incompetent when he kept being so impressed by her information.
I really liked the dynamic that Agatha and Simon had between them. I really felt their love and passion for each other. They seemed like they just fit. The scenes where Agatha keeps trying to seduce Simon and he keeps throwing her out made me laugh. I loved Agatha's determination to have Simon. Nothing I like better than a woman who knows her own mind. I did have a problem with her belief that it was okay to "steal" a baby from Simon and never let him know. That really dropped her character in my eyes.
I found it hard to believe that Agatha would be so naïve as to invite some random stranger to live with her for a couple weeks. It really made her seem stupid. Also, I know the fake husband thing gets used a lot in historical romance, but was it really all that common? Maybe I'm just critical of this trope because it has been done to death.
I found the ending with the Prince to be an eye rolling event. It all just seemed faintly unbelievable. I really did like the humor in this book though. The brother seemed interesting although his "whatever" attitude toward Agatha and Simon didn't ring true. I think that this author has the potential to be a keeper for me so I'm going to check out more of her work. (less)