SHE LOVED AND LOST HIM ONCE…
Amelia Benbridge and the Earl of Ware are the most anticipated match of the Season. Lord Ware is handsome, wealthy, and kind, and he understands that her love will always belong to her childhood sweetheart, Colin. When Colin died, Amelia believed she would never feel such passion again. But her primal reaction to the brooding stranger who approaches her at a masquerade, coaxing her into a moonlit minuet and a single, sensual kiss, proves otherwise…
Colin Mitchell knew a pairing between a peer’s daughter and a gypsy stable boy was impossible. Amelia’s mistaken belief in his demise afforded him the opportunity to return to her as a man of means. But time has slipped through his fingers. She is preparing to wed another and danger prevents him from revealing the truth. Colin can only bid her a secret farewell, but he underestimates her determination to unmask her phantom admirer. A forbidden kiss leads to her ardent pursuit and a soul-scorching affair. Amelia is perfectly attuned to his every desire, every thought–and hungry for stability he can’t offer her. For deception lies at the heart of their love, waiting to drive them apart once again…
What I liked: Where this book shines is the romance between the H&H. The emotion between Colin and Amelia is so real and heartfelt. Even when Amelia thought he was someone else (although I must admit, the name Reynaldo Montoya did nothing for me...), their interactions were fabulous. I loved that Colin couldn't contain himself, and said "I love you" first, and often. I was thrilled when, during their confrontation about Colin's identity, he threw out - "Whose name do you think you screamed at the height of orgasm?" I kept waiting for Day to reveal that during the actual love scene and when she didn't, I was disappointed. So I was very relieved to see it revealed the morning after.
I liked that there were many flashbacks of their early life together, and what drew them together when they were children, and that these scenes were consistent with those from A Passion for the Game.
I did like many of the secondary characters, including Simon, who had more of a backbone in this book. And although I liked Ware, I can hope that the few glimpses that we had of his more alpha side will come through as this series continues. He was a terrificly supportive friend for Amelia, but his character seemed a bit lost, as if he wasn't sure if he should be strong and manly or the supportive friend. Understandable, given his history with her, but he was just a bit too unfocused for me, and that made him seem a bit too wishy-washy. He did seem to pull it together as the book progressed, though, and find the center for his character. Seems to be the same problem that Simon suffered from in A Passion for the Game. Simon figured it out in this book (quite nicely, I might add), and one can assume that the more forceful glimpses that we saw of Ware are his true nature, and the softer side will only come out with his one true love in his own book.
And, I liked the cover. Brava is doing an amazing job with the covers for this series. Isn't he just yummy? I also liked that there was very minimal use of my least favorite word (the one from The Stranger I Married, that prompted this post about the "c" word), which seems to be one of Sylvia Day's more favorite words. Thank you, Sylvia!! It made reading the love scenes far more pleasureable for me, I must say.
What I didn't like: The intrigue was a bit confusing, and while I understood it on the large scale, on the smaller scale it was difficult to grasp each bit player's piece in the puzzle. I found myself glossing over many of the scenes that included the less imprtant villainous secondary characters, drawn instead to the main romance between Colin and Amelia.
Amelia just knows there is something about this man, and she constantly thinks of Colin while she is with him. So why was she so surprised when he revealed himself to her? And so unwilling to forgive? He tried to tell her, after all. She was the one who said no - not to tell her.
Very few things not to like, and many things to like. The romance gets better with each book Day writes. And although the intrigue in this series is very convoluted, there is obviously a point to it. I assume it is going to be revealed eventually as the series continues.