Minnie is not at all the woman she seems. To the casual observer, she seems mousy and biddable. But her downcast eyes and quiet demeanor hide a brilliant mind and a will of steel. She must keep up appearances, though. Her true identity is a secret, and if it ever gets out, her reputation will be destroyed. Unfortunately, when she is falsely accused of printing seditious fliers, she realizes that all of her careful behavior may have been for naught.
A chance encounter with Robert, the Duke of Clermont, gives Minnie an opportunity to lessen the damage, however. Once she realizes he is the true author of the fliers, she confronts him and asks him to stop. He refuses, but he is intrigued by this woman who sees the real man behind his title. And so the two of them do battle: She is determined to prove his involvement in the fliers, while he plans to convince everyone that he is smitten with her, so that she can find the solid future his actions may deprive her of.
The more time they spend together, the more Minnie intrigues Robert. Despite the difference in their social stations, he ends up falling for her.
I love Courtney Milan's writing style. It's smart. It makes me laugh. And she makes me understand her characters. But I can't say this was the most engaging of her books. The relationship was slow to take off. Beyond that, both characters make choices that stood to obliterate the other. That's a tough pill to swallow. First Minnie makes a conscious decision to destroy Robert... then he does the same to her. I understood why they each thought they "had to" do what they did, but it wilted the romantic in me a bit.
Minnie's big secret was different than your standard born-on-the wrong-side-of-the-tracks or I'm-not-really-a-virgin fare. But after all the build up we had for it, the reveal seemed a bit anticlimactic.
Despite my complaints, I liked the book overall. It's hard for me not to give my heart to a hero so emotionally wounded as Robert. The poor man is so starved for love, there were times I wanted to jump into the book and give him a hug... And there was a scene where Minnie gives him a book that brought a tear to my eye. Plus --a stealth virgin hero! There are good elements in there. It just wasn't my favorite from this author.
Rating: B- *ARC provided by author for review