Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Fool Me Twice by Meredith Duran

Title: Fool Me Twice
Author: Meredith Duran
My Rating: A

Genre: Historical Romance 
Series: Rules for the Reckless #2
Main Characters: Olivia and Alastair
Release Date: March 2014
Publisher: Pocket Books
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: spicy

Story Overview:
Sensible and lonely, Olivia Mather survives by her wits—and her strict policy of avoiding trouble. But when she realizes that the Duke of Marwick might hold the secrets of her family’s past, she does the unthinkable, infiltrating his household as a maid. She’ll clean his study and rifle through his papers looking for information.
Alastair de Grey has a single reason to live: vengeance. More beautiful than Lucifer, twice as feared, and thrice as cunning, he’ll use any weapon to punish those who fooled and betrayed him—even an impertinent maid who doesn’t know her place. But the more fascinated he becomes with the uppity redhead, the more dangerous his carefully designed plot becomes. For the one contingency he forgot to plan for was falling in love…and he cannot survive being fooled again.
My Review:
This was such a different start to a romance novel. At the beginning of this story, Alastair has taken a hard blow to his mental state. After his wife suddenly died, he found out that she was not at all the person he thought she was. Not only had he been continually cuckolded, but she had also worked against his political power and used his knowledge to twist and manipulate things happening in the government. He was left completely and totally shattered. Not just from her betrayal, but the strong, confident person he always saw himself as was suddenly completely gone. He'd been a fool. 

When Olivia joined his household as a maid, she was there to also betray him. But instead found a broken man who hadn't left his rooms in months and was basically feral. Despite Olivia's background, she's not your typical housemaid. She's extremely intelligent and well-versed. She grew up as an outcast of sorts and has learned not to let anyone else's opinion of her sway her actions. As a result, she didn't cower from the abrasive, abusive Duke. Instead, she pushed right back and eventually helped him to find reasons to live again. In the meantime, they began to develop a pseudo-relationship. He became curious about her. She felt herself feeling alternatively guilty and then fond and respecting of him. 

It was an interesting book just in the pure fact that the hero was so broken when it began. Normally, that isn't a word most people like to be able to attribute to the hero's character. But it worked in this story and provided an interesting twist to a somewhat traditional historical novel. Alastair definitely has a developing character arc as he finds himself again...through the care of Olivia. There are all kinds of political mechanisms at play in the background, too, but that truly was the transformation that mattered most to me as the reader. I liked watching Alastair evolve out of his funk and become the man, or even actually a better man, than the one he used to be. 

I'm not a huge historical romance reader any longer, but I liked this one and definitely recommend it.

I received a complimentary copy of this book in return for an honest review.

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