I am almost afraid to review this as it might just turn into a big rant.
I enjoyed the first book in this series. But in the first book How to Tempt a Duke, I didn't like Nicole, and I can honestly say after reading her book that I actually like her less. In the first book, she was manipulating everyone and everything to do as she wanted, and damn the consequences. At one point she is almost killed due to her own idiocy and she swears she'll be more careful and gee, I don't know, less stupid.
Nicole craves freedom and never wants to marry for the fear that marriage will turn her weak, or she'll become her mother who is constantly on the look for her next husband. Unfortunately Nicole doesn't offer us any insight into her character until about 200 pages in. And by that point I don't care. I only finished this book because I knew that Nicole would change, that she would become a better person.
No she didn't.
I was going to put in a few quotes, but I don't know if I even want to go to the trouble. Some quotes were ridiculous like, "She opened her eyes wide so she could hear who was coming." Really? My eyes don't do that.
Others were more along the lines of the reader finally feeling we got some insight into Nicole, only to have that profound insight fall flat "Yes she was selfish, but it was only to protect herself." We find out later, she's protecting her heart from ever loving anyone, since her twin sister grieved over her beau's death.
Nicole was absolutely the most self-centered character I've ever read about and all the little hints about her recognizing her character flaws would give me hope and have me waiting for her to see how crappy and bossy and manipulative she was. she would see it and apologize to her twin Lydia, and then go back to being shitty to everyone. (I don't cuss, so it's huge for me to say this!!) I also have very rarely given a book a 1 star rating, but I hated Nicole. If I knew her personally I'd
probably tell her off Jerry Springer style. She was so selfish.
How arrogant was she to feel she could control everything?
And our hero Lucas. Hmm..he was unimpressive.No complaints against him, but nothing really promising about him either. I think Nicole needed someone stronger to actually "tame" her since this book is called How to Tame a Lady. Nicole was never tamed, or brought to heel, or anything along the lines of looking at herself in a mirror and saying I am a manipulative and self-centered egotistical girl. Gee, maybe I shouldn't follow my man, whom I vigorously protest I will not marry, maybe I shouldn't follow him into a revolution. Maybe instead of feeling left out and slighted by staying far away from the villagers with pitchforks and torches, I'll go after him and make him see he can't leave me tending the homefires.
She is so arrogant to assume she could help a soldier. It's the freaking 1800s lady, unless you're a Navy SEAL, you won't be able to hold your own and your man will be too worried about your safety for him to pay attention to the potential threat. Idiot.
And through it all is this sub-plot of Lucas' father who shot himself and was branded a traitor. Lucas wants to prove his father's innocence so badly he makes a deal with the devil.
Meanwhile there is political unrest and a volcano blew halfway across the world causing crops to fail. It was called the year without a summer because the ash from the volcano changed the weather patterns (I remember that from high school history and thought it was cool the author put it in her book)
BUT this could have been a bigger more intricate part of the book, except we have focused so much on Nicole and her lust for fun and freedom that it's pushed into a side plot that is just there to explain the reasons Lucas does what he does.
The only cool thing about Lucas is that he can always see through Nicole's lies and stories and he never lets them bother him...once he understands her, he can play her a bit to do never as he asks, but rather as he dares her.But even that wasn't used to its advantage.
I just felt that if once, just once, she was humbled, even just a bit, I'd have given this book 3 stars. But not once! I am so frustrated that she just gets away with it all.
I think that some people won't be bothered by Nicole's attitude, and they might see her as I'm sure the author wanted- a silly selfish girl who always means well, but can't quite let a secret go by undiscovered, or that she's selfish in her pursuit of happiness only in that she doesn't look at consequences, or put it off as she's a product of her mother. I just hated Nicole to the point that I don't want to read the next book. Which is sad since I have it, and I did enjoy the first book.
I give this 1.5 stars since I like the author's writing style and the book itself wasn't tedious. I just kept waiting for Nicole to grow up. Even her twin told her to grow up at one point. It just never happened.