Somehow everything that happened in this book seemed a little unlikely. I mean, sure, the way things are done in historical romances is probably not so realistic, BUT well written, they can be believable. And I had some difficulty in that area with this one.
Antonia, our heroine, hasn't made the wisest decisions in the past and because of this her father banished her. Godfrey Demarest, a relative, takes her in and she becomes the companion to his daughter. She wears horribly unflattering dresses and glasses so as not to be recognized by her former acquaintances and this works well for her for 10 years. Which is when Ranelaw comes along and 'ruins' everything.
Antonia doesn't seem all that smart. A little bit less than she was in the book and I'd have labeled her 'too stupid to live'. However, she is very caring and loyal. And passionate when she lets herself. I must admit she really did annoy me at times and I wanted to smack her in the back of the head at the decisions she made.
Ranelaw appears to be an intelligent man, but in matters of the heart he needs to take another course or 50 in order to understand them. I get that he's angry Demarest ruined his sister, but come on, it's been 20 years! If you want to do anything, just shoot the man himself instead of going after his innocent daughter. And how is that going to help his sister? This really annoyed me.
Together the main characters did have chemistry and there were lovely moments in the book, but with Ranelaw being angry almost all the time and Antonia being scared, I just had issues with them. And I also didn't appreciate that at the beginning of the story their encounters were more Ranelaw forcing himself on Antonia than them being taken over by passion. Not romantic.
The second half of the book was better than the first and it's what saved the book for me. Though I could have done without the epilogue.
My rating: 2,5 stars