Published by Avon on October 26th 2004
Genres: Historical Romance
Source: Self Purchased
Librarian's Note: Alternate cover for this ISBN can be found here.
Four young ladies enter London society with one common goal: they must use their feminine wit and wiles to find a husband. So a daring husband-hunting scheme is born.
Annabelle Peyton, determined to save her family from disaster, decides to use her beauty and wit to tempt a suitable nobleman into making an offer of marriage. But Annabelle’s most intriguing—and persistent—admirer, wealthy, powerful Simon Hunt, has made it clear that while he will introduce her to irresistible pleasure he will not offer marriage. Annabelle is determined to resist his unthinkable proposition…but it is impossible in the face of such skillful seduction.
Her friends, looking to help, conspire to entice a more suitable gentleman to offer for Annabelle, for only then will she be safe from Simon—and her own longings. But on one summer night, Annabelle succumbs to Simon’s passionate embrace and tempting kisses…and she discovers that love is the most dangerous game of all.
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Ooooohhhh….what a hero you are Simon Hunt!!! Sigh sigh….mega sigh…seriously this book!! The characters! The Wallflowers! Everything! Lol, I really loved this book I do have a few questions which I feel are unanswered in my head(see below). Would love to know what you guys thought!
Annabelle Peyton has to marry rich to save herself and her family from financial ruin. Annabelle only wants someone titled, of course, and she is beautiful enough to enrapture any man, but the men of the town were already aware of her precarious financial situation and are waiting it out to come to her rescue, by offering her the position of a mistress than a wife!
Simon Hunt is extremely rich, maybe even more so than some of the peerage but he has neither a title nor is he a peer. He has earned his money through wise investments, business and economics. He socializes amongst the ton thanks to his best friend Marcus – Earl of Westcliff but he will never be viewed as an equal amongst the ton due to his lack of title, which suits Simon perfectly as he doesn’t care one whit about titles as long as he’s making money!
Simon has been captivated by Annabelle since he first laid eyes on her and Annabelle Peyton has always been his weakness. He has tried for years to make her his and finally, the time has drawn near for Annabelle’s financial situation to run out of luck and his chance is closer than ever to finally lay his claim to her.
I adored this story! Such a different storyline for a historical romance which is probably why I enjoyed it so much. Simon and Anabelle are much more complicated than I thought. There is more to the two of them than I initially gave them credit for and the more I analyse their characters, the better they become! Here are my thoughts on their personalities and characters and other things that caught my attention. I have split them up into paragraphs because of the randomness of my thoughts haha.
- Annabelle Peyton – A confusing character I found! I don’t think I even liked her as a heroine initially. Annabelle was a love/hate relationship for me, which is weird because usually, I’m always on Team Heroine rather than Team Hero. I probably disliked her initially because I was already rooting for Simon Hunt and felt like Anabelle was being unfair towards him. Anabelle is what we call in modern times a gold-digger and she isn’t sugarcoating or hiding that fact. She needs money and she needs it fast, but here is the confusing part….I loved that about her character. Lisa Kleypas was open about Annabelle needing to marry rich and it was also no secret amongst the ton. It was very real…yes we have all read about the “poorer” families in the ton who can only afford one season etc. but what happens to the family and the daughters, if they don’t marry their titled true love? We usually don’t find out as we get a happy ending and H/h live happily ever after. In Annabelle’s case, however, we are given a glimpse of her family’s possible future if she could not succeed in marrying well and it did not look pretty. We are given a reality check from Annabelle’s eyes and I can appreciate how much pressure Anabelle was under. She didn’t come across as strong at the beginning but no! She is very strong, as she maintains her dignity and WANTS to maintain her dignity and not settle for the title of mistress and shortchange herself which I give her kudos for. Annabelle does say many callous things to Simon throughout the book, which I wasn’t a fan of, but she really redeems herself at the end as she proves she indeed cares for him deep down.
- Simon Hunt – What a breath of fresh air Simon was! It isn’t often you come across a hero who isn’t titled and doesn’t care! He is endearing as he was happy as the person he is. Simon’s interest in Anabelle was intense but ambiguous. I was never sure of what he actually wanted from her – to be his lover and mistress or wife! Initially, I was a bit outraged that there was the possibility that he only wanted her as a mistress just like the rest of the ton, which made him dim in my eyes, but when I mulled over his personality some more, the better I understood his character. I love how intense he is when it comes to Annabelle. He’s so taken with her which is so obvious and he has no idea what to do with himself! So damn cute!
- It was interesting to read about characters whose emotions were not clear-cut, as they are also attempting to sort through their emotions and figure themselves out. This added to my confusion as the reader as I couldn’t see clearly what they were feeling and you only reach an understanding about them when they finally understood themselves!
- The men in the ton were really portrayed differently in this book…what a bunch of vultures the men seemed! I felt like they were just circling like scavengers waiting for their prey to finally give in before they swooped down! Felt very grossed out!
- Ooooh can Lisa Kleypas write kissing scenes or what?!
I love when kissing scenes are well done! I’d settle for a good kissing scene than a sex scene because I find a well-written kissing scene so emotional!!!
- Oh and the Wallflowers! What a great bunch of girls! Such a great girly friendship, great bunch of laughs from the Americans. Can’t wait to read the stories from the rest of the girls as they are all so different in personalities and very very fun!
This review turned out different than I expected! It took so long to write and I have written bullet points! I didn’t realise I had all these things going through my head but writing this review really helped to sort out how I was feeling about Annabelle and Simon which was great! This is such a great start to the series and I’m really looking forward to reading about the rest of the girls!
Oh yeah, and the questions I have are below! Writing this review didn’t help me answer these in my head! Let me know what you think! Hopefully, someone can help make sense of it!
What type of family does Annabelle have? Is she part of the peerage? I must have missed this completely if this was actually mentioned? Anyone know?
Annabelle mentions many times that she “can do better” when it came to Simon, so does that mean she always had it in her head that she was potentially going to end up someone’s mistress??