Dash it, i have considered Mary Balogh one of my favorite Historical romance authors, even if I had read only one of her books, besides this one. The first one of this saga was almost perfect. I loved it and it is one of my favorite Regency books.
But sadly, Viola the MC is soooo different from Jane. To the point where it is very disappointing. Merely because I thought Mary Balogh would be an author who creates likeable characters. Jane was (is) a true Lady, while Viola...
It is not just that she is an ex-courtesan. If I had known beforehand, I would have not bothered to read this book. I don't like Regencies where the MC was/is a prostitute, thank you very much. And she was one of the High Courtesan. Noooo....
Her attitude when Ferdinand comes to her house, saying he is the real owner of the estate, was far from Lady-like. It was pretty childish, actually. I mean, I understand she is not pleased with the turn of events, that it is her home, etc., but she could have handle it more... like an adult, not with childish games.
Their relationship was MEH. It was all lust for me, for about 60% of the book. How, otherwise, could Ferdinand like Viola? She was so defensive, and only because one enjoyable afternoon together, the first time they met, means nothing. I did like Ferdinand most of the times, but not to the point of "awww I love this hero".
So after half of the book, we discover Viola has been a courtesan. Ferdinand is angry and sad because she never told him, but he does not care: he "likes" her a lot. Of course he is confused; like in 90% of Historical Romances, the hero will not admit he is in love until almost the end of the book.
Oh, and we find out Ferdinand is a virgin. Nice twist, but almost convenient. The Virgin and the Courtesan. Their first time together... MEH, no foreplay, it was quick and unromantic.
So basically I wanted to just finish the book. The good thing is (and I did not realize until I've read more than half of the book) was the glimpse in the married life of Jane and Jocelyn. Awww, so sweet with their 2 boys. They were the best couple -again- in this 2nd book.
Although I pity Viola and her former life, her reputation is fixed too quick and unrealistically.
Mary Balogh, how disappointing. However, i still have faith in you and your lovely writing. I'll probably abandon this saga (seems like the next one is about Angelina, Jocely's sister... I want to read it, but... it will be going backwards, as it is the prequel). I don't know, I am still undecided...