Joint review with Has from The Book Pushers was originally posted here: http://thebookpushers.com/2011/03/10/joi...Publisher: Avon Publish Date: Out Now! How we got this book: NetGalley Has: Anne Mallory is fast becoming an autobuy author for me, I really have enjoyed her last few books and grabbed the chance to request this via Netgalley when it was posted. The premise of a hero who was outside of society and was from a working class background really appealed to me because it is a refreshing change from the usual aristocratic heroes in Regency romances. MinnChica: I like wise requested this one because I thought it sounded interesting and different, but I have to say it somewhat fell short for me. Has: His heroine who is confined and restricted to be something she is not by her family and society was an interesting foil for him and I thought it was an interesting take and conflict for their romance. MinnChica: While the “in society vs. out of society” isn’t common in historical romance, I have read a few, and I didn’t feel that Mallory did anything that was new and exciting between the hero and heroine, and I thought the conflict was almost too forced. I felt that Charlotte was extremely wishy washy regarding her family. Has: I actually had the opposite view of that, she was feeling that because she had no real choices and her father held so much sway and power especially over her sister, she had no choice. She never really believed in those constraints which I found great! She was trapped in a cage of mores and society’s rules and her father’s greed. MinnChica: I can see where she felt that her father had all the power, but I never understood what exactly he held over her head regarding her sister. And like her mother and sister said to Charlotte at the end, everyone should be free to make their own choices. At times I felt like she was trying to stifle her sister by providing this “protection” from what? The marriage mart? Has: I think her father held that much power and it was hard to break free but it wasn’t until Roman helped to break down her barriers and she did the same with him too that helped her to see that. There is that key scene towards the end where she realises that there is so much more than what her father wants and what society expects of her MinnChica: I saw her “confinement” as self-inflicted and unnecessary. I have to say the one thing I did enjoy about this book was Roman. While it took me awhile to warm up to him, I did enjoy him towards the end. Has: This is why I really enjoyed the book so much. Both Roman and Charlotte broke down each other’s walls and barriers.The symbolism in her dresses and the use of colours which Roman picks up on was a sign she wasn’t as confined as others thought or felt she was.I loved how he picked up on things like that and the same thing happened with her – it really felt like their courtship was the chess game they played at the beginning of the book. Each move led to an inner obstacle breaking down and moving more closer to each other. MinnChica: I definitely thought their courtship was steamy, if they even had a courtship. It seemed to really just be a lot of smexing. I just couldn’t seem to connect with their chemistry. It was all to sudden and not really romantic to me. Has: I really felt the opposite! I think the buildup at the beginning was great. I loved how the romance played out and the buildup of the tension. I thought it was really multilayered and the tension was delicious! But I have to say my issue was how Charlotte’s mother reacted to the situation with her daughter and the sudden turnaround from that. MinnChica: Yea, her mother was an odd cookie… I have to say though, I was glad at the end when the girls made the attempt to have a relationship with their mother. That warmed my heart strings a bit. Has: I didn’t think it was that belieavable and realistic especially since she was so adamant and hardheaded about her views. I didn’t see how she could transcend from being against her daughter like that and then suddenly working with her. MinnChica: I never saw them as “working” together. All I really saw was that she at least opened up to having a relationship with them, regardless of her views. I still don’t think her mother would have lifted a finger to help her, ever. Has: Oh I agree – even though I didn’t think it worked from that switch. That scene was very emotional and I think it was one of my favourites. I also loved the subtle touches of humour too. Such as Roman’s servant’s, One Eyed Bill’s crush on her mother. I loved that scene when he gave her flowers, really touching and subtly funny too! MinnChica: That was cute, I thought that was adorable! I did find myself liking some of the secondary characters more than the main characters. Charlotte’s sister Emily, and One Eyed Bill were great. I loved Emily open view of the world, not yet jaded, but realistic at the same time. And like you said Has, One Eyed Bill had some really funny scenes and one liners. Has: I think they helped to give some lightness and humour in the book because it was pretty emotional and even angsty at times and this helped to lighten the tone of the book. I really hope we get to see more of them in the sequel because I am wondering if One Eyed Bill will manage to win Charlotte’s mother, because I was definitely caught up in that side plot and helped to humanise her mother who was so cold and detached in the beginning of the book. MinnChica: Like I said, I wasn’t completely in love with the main characters. I though Charlotte was making herself out to be a victim, when she didn’t need to. I couldn’t relate to her at all, and found myself not really wanting to, even once she started really finding her own way. Once Roman warmed up to me, I did enjoy his very almost anti-hero ways. While he was not the most honorable gentleman, he sincerely wanted everything for Charlotte to be perfect, and that redeemed him a lot in my eyes. Has: I loved Roman! In many ways he reminded me of Derek from Dreaming of You by Lisa Kleypas but with more of the dangerous rake in him. I think for me if he wasn’t in the book – I don’t think it would have worked as well. I disagree Charlotte was making herself into a victim. She couldn’t see a way out other than having an expectation into making a prosperous and loveless marriage. And that she was trapped within society, whilst Roman was already outside of it and could never belong within it. But I loved how they broke through each others barriers and found their own place to belong. I think for me that how a good romance works for me. Charlotte uses words and rules to build herself a wall while Roman uses his reputation and violence. But despite this they found each other. MinnChica: While I really wanted to like this Mallory historical, and did enjoy a few parts of it, I just couldn’t seem to get into the book and really didn't like it in it’s entirety. I give this book a D+. Has: I loved it! I loved the slow buildup and tension and the courtship between Charlotte and Roman was very much like chess game for me. I really liked how they broke through each others walls and that is one of my favourite types of romances. I have to say it was a solid B for me.