I'm still reading this book. But I have to mention that on page 147 the heroine, despite not being terribly rich and basically living with the hero and his family, tells him "I buy my own clothes."
Much better than the shameless Meg from the previous rubbish novel. However. There's no hotness in the story....
Wow! This is a really good historical. Totally because some thought has gone into the character of the heroine. Although she lives with the hero's family Mira still has some pride and basically looks forward to the day she inherits her father's money and can buy a little cottage and invite all the family who have shared their home with her for so long into her own little home. Ahh! Isn't that sweet. What is really enjoyable in the story is the initial verbal sparring between the main couple and how they manage their truce. I loved all that. I also completely empathised with Mira's shame at the venality of her uncle's life and her worry of how it would affect her relationship with Whit. I loved the passage where Mira allowed Whit his principles because he was rich but acknowledged that others less fortunate might have to compromise their values at various times. That probably explains why she had pre-marital nookie with Whit.
The 'heroine in danger' scenes towards the end of the book were also convincing. Unusually this novel contains a mother who wishes for nothing more than that the main couple should fall in love. But the way she goes about plotting the development of their relationship is truly astounding. As is the number of suspicious characters who turn out to be good-guys.
Mira's uncle was a disgusting piece of slime. Not because of any criminal activities (non-existent)...but because he impoverished his young niece and 'sold' her off to a creep. That's what life could be like for single females in those days. And Mira suffered real violence from Eppersly and Hartsinger. Poor girl. For much of the novel I got the sense that Mira balanced on the cusp of complete degradation and that provided more than enough tension and danger for me. (Even though thankfully she mostly remained unaware of her predicament.)
I've hardly mentioned the hero Whit. But what I liked about him is that once he realises he loves Mira, which is about two-thirds through the book, he immediately thinks of her as his wife. And that justifies the pre-marital relations between Mira and what is supposed to be an honorable man.
The main strength of the story though is the many and varied conversations and encounters between Mira and Whit. While I may bemoan the lack of hotness, in fact any more hotness would have actually been out of place within this story as it was written. The trouble is. Without 'hotness' many novels just end up being bland and I'm not sure that this isn't true for this story also.
This is an out of the ordinary historical with an unfortunately boring cover. I bought it because it popped up on my recommendations list on amazon. Imagine that!
At the end of the year this romance may end up on my recommended list. My only hesitation is that there is a power element in this relationship that Whit just doesn't acknowledge...although on the whole he also doesn't abuse it either.