Book source ~ Purchased
Miss Melissa Atwell has been confined to her suite of rooms ever since her mother died of a fever when she was 3. Her step-father, Rupert Atwell, only wanted to protect her, but for 18 years she’s been isolated from the world. With her father’s death and the sale of the manor and lands, her uncle George, the Earl of Braddock, has come to collect her, take her under his wing, and find her a husband. He’s hired a companion for her, Diane Stanhope, to help with this task and act as chaperone. His son, John, the Viscount of Willington has agreed to help by providing a list of his friends who would be suitable. Problem is, he’s beginning to think he wants her for himself and Melissa feels the same. But society thinks they are first cousins and therefore unsuitable to marry. There’s no one alive who knows who her real father is, so there’s the added stigma of being a bastard when they figure out she is not a true Atwell. What a mess.
I loved two other books in this series so I thought I would love this one, too. But I just can’t. I feel bad for Melissa, having been tucked away from everything and thinking her whole life that if she goes outside or touches anyone without gloves that she’ll die. Her father did her no favors keeping her locked away even if his intentions were good, that he wanted to keep her away from her true father. But other than feeling sorry for Melissa, I just don’t like her. Or John. They just feel off to me. Oh, well. The story isn’t horrible, it’s just my own personal feelings that bring my rating down. Secondary characters are pretty good and the villain is shudder-worthy. Ugh. So give it a try and see what you think. Maybe you’ll like it a whole lot more than I do and that will make me feel better.