I initially read this story in its original form, when it existed as fanfiction.
Will and Claire are completely different characters compared to the source material. As such, it is not difficult for me to read this as a work of original fiction.
On the strength of this story, I have always liked the fake marriage trope. Lady Isadora gets some humourous lines; displayed some kickass gun shooting skills, and totally deserves a novel of her own.
The story flow is good, it is easy light reading, and the cover picture is very pretty. In essence, it's about two (slightly) broken dented characters helping each other heal, letting go of their respective sad pasts to find happiness together. And that is always the sort of story worth reading.
In short, I think this series has potential, and I definitely have The Meddling Madame on my waiting list for when it comes out next year.
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Now, I am going to nitpick on the historical inaccuracies that bother me. Please feel free to stop reading at this point because whenever I do this to my friends, their eyes glaze over.
Disclaimer: I never criticise fanfiction because most fanfic writers devote their free time writing out of love for a fandom, and they tend to find it demotivating to receive (unsolicited) criticisms. That said, published novels are an entirely different game, and I definitely criticise novels when I review them.
Firstly, baron is a rank, not an appellation. In the novel, Will and Claire addressed each other as Mr. & Mrs Knightley. Given that they hold the ranks of baron & baroness, they should be Lord & Lady Knightley. In society, he would have been presented as Lord William Knightley, Baron of _____ . Not Baron William Knightley.
There were hardly any mentions of servants. The lady's maid performs the duties of a butler in addition to her own, Claire doesn't wear mourning colours, she gallivants around London unaccompanied by a maid or footman, there are no footmen in Claire's house, (footmen were supposed to be everywhere!), Baron Knightly has no valet, and they are completely unchaperoned (Lady Isadora, being unmarried herself, cannot be considered a chaperone, even if she is middle-aged, which she is not). They even live in the same house as an unmarried couple. This is the stuff of scandal in those days.
Third, no patroness launched Claire into society, no presentation to the royal court at the beginning of the season. Underaged, but no appointed guardian (a legal requirement). No mention of fortune hunters. And yes, I know I am getting ridiculous at this point, but we're talking about a time era so ritualistic in nature that non-adherence to the rigid customs caused scandals and led to ostracisation from society, so it stretches my suspension of disbelief just a little too much.
And about the 'restoration' of the barony ... I don't think that's how it works, but I don't even want to get into that topic lol. This post is already long enough as it is.
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All these, however, do not detract from my enjoyment of the novel (much) and I look forward to future books by this author. :)