Title: How to Woo a Reluctant Lady (The Hellions of Halstead Hall)
Author: Sabrina Jeffries
Redonk Nutshell: Minerva has been in love with Giles since she was a little girl, until he spurned her advances at a risque ball. Then she hated him and decided to get back at him by painting him a vicious villain in her popular Gothic novels. Her gran insists she marry or she ain’t gonna get her shite-ton of money. Giles wants to marry her. They get married. They fight. They make up. They realize they lurve each other. Cue ending.
Official Synopsis: Lady Minerva Sharpe has the perfect plan to thwart her grandmother’s demands: become engaged to a rogue! Surely Gran would rather release her inheritance than see her wed a scoundrel. And who better to play the part of Minerva’s would-be husband than wild barrister Giles Masters, the very inspiration for the handsome spy in the popular Gothic novels she writes? The memory of his passionate kiss on her nineteenth birthday has lingered in Minerva’s imagination, though she has no intention of really falling for such a rakehell, much less marrying him. Little does she know, he really is a covert government operative. When they team up to investigate the mystery behind her parents’ deaths, their fake betrothal leads to red-hot desire. Then Minerva discovers Giles’s secret double life, and he must use all the cunning tricks of his trade to find his way back into her heart.
This was my first Sabrina Jeffries novel, and I was really looking forward to it, what with all the positive reviews I had read not just about this book, but also the others in the series. Right off the bat, Minerva Sharpe grates on my every nerve. Then again, she is a “hellion,” so I suppose her feisty behavior and retorts are supposed to be expected of her. I wanted to like her. I really did. Instead I found her to be off putting and, well, annoying. But she’s an awfully pretty harpy, and Giles Masters must be some sort of glutton for punishment. Giles didn’t really do it for me, either. He was somewhat intriguing, what with his past connections with the Home Office and spying. He’s also a sort of hot shot Jack McCoy in the court room.
The fake betrothal lasts for a few chapters. The rest of the book is Giles attempting to “win” Minerva over to him, and Minerva spends her time worrying that Giles “likes” her but doesn’t actually love her. Oh, how original. *facepalm* There’s a subplot of investigating the mysterious murder of Minerva’s parents, and both Minerva and Giles take their turns snooping around for clues and running into mishaps.
Truthfully, I was bored. I couldn’t get into the characters and didn’t really care about their story. It took some effort on my part to follow through with finishing the story.
What I loved about this book: A sweet happy story.
What I Didn’t Like: Didn’t really connect with the characters and wasn’t invested in their story.