I really liked the heroine-on-hard-times-supporting-her-younger-sister beginning, as Eleanor approaches the house where she’s to be governess. I also really enjoyed the atmospheric setting, historical tone, and Pride and Prejudice feel of her falling for Groves House.
Hugo, the notorious Duke of Grovesmoor, is very easy to fall for despite his 'England's most reviled man' reputation, which felt blown out of proportion even for the scandal sheets! I don’t mind a slightly historical tone in my Presents, but this is a bit too Jane Austen at times e.g the hero telling the heroine she’s far too young to be missish and coy.
Having Eleanor's sister act like the woman who had poisoned Hugo's life and this being the trigger for their emotions to touch is fab. I really felt for Eleanor here. Seeing her through the hero’s eyes almost overcame that she is so on board with her younger sister marrying a rich husband. It made me feel for her sister, Vivi, too. Vivi being a "tabloid bit of arm candy" feels left field; she’s not been written quite this way or her actions wouldn’t have been such a shock for Eleanor who would have been more concerned about what Vivi might do.
When Vivi sells Eleanor's story, I wished Eleanor had tried to do the decent thing rather than sneak off taking what's left of Hugo’s reputation with her.
The Happily-Ever-After happens abruptly. Which is probably why the epilogue covers several years, as this reader needed reassurance as the conflict wasn't the kind for all parties, including Vivi and Geraldine, to recover from in one scene.
3 Harlequin Presents stars for voice and characterisation that almost makes up for heroine issues, pacing and tone.