Disclaimer: I received a free ARC from the publisher in exchange for an unbiased review.
Things I liked about this book:
– The main characters, after the first couple of chapters. Percival rose above his name and also managed to not whine too excessively about his missing leg (in fact, it often seemed to bother the other characters in the story much more than it bothered him, and it certainly didn’t slow him down much). Fiona was a bit too good to be true at times, but I couldn’t help but adore her when she just let her string of lies get away with her as she held up Percival’s coach. She told one whopper after another, and I liked the rollicking feel of the story.
– The plot covered a lot of territory, very little of it London. It was nice to get out in the countryside a bit. I’m not certain how accurate some of the portrayal was, but it was nice to be out and about.
Things I didn’t like about this book:
– Cognitive dissonance. While Fiona was telling one lie after another, waving a knife about, and boldly tearing across the countryside with a strange man, we were supposed to believe she had cut her Season short due to social insecurity? Because, in other words, she was shy? Um, no.
– Secondary characters. They were either loosely painted caricatures or thoroughly unlikeable, or in many cases, both. I had a hard time understanding why many of them appeared, and whether certain of them (Uncle Seymour?) were villains or merely wretched human beings.
– The plot covered a lot of territory, as in, it was plot spaghetti!
In general, this was fine for me. A solid 3-star read; nothing spectacular and nothing horrible. It was light and diverting, with the exception of the death of one of the only decent secondary characters to mar the frivolity. I would probably not read it again, though.
I did find one continuity issue that, as a horse person, drove me batty – Fiona’s horse “Ned” is first referred to as a mare (i.e. a female horse) but many times thereafter is called “him”. By the end of the book Ned has lost all gender, poor dear, but it’s probably for the best.