Keene Davies is set to duel his one-time friend over the honor of their common best friend’s new wife. His brother’s old friend will stand as his second, but John has a secret up his sleeve. He’s brought a pair of cursed pistols to be used in the duel. The legend tells that the true winner will live happily ever after; something Keene has never intended to do.
After the duel goes awry with John’s help, Keene’s father forces him into marriage to Sophie Farthing, his rambunctious and forever in trouble cousin. Sophie knows that her prudish parents want to marry her off, but never did she suspect it would be to Keene, her childhood rescuer.
Sophie and Keene’s relationship is interesting enough to make the book, but the author actually splits the story, so we also follow Keene’s friends George and Victor, as well as George’s wife, Amelia. Jumping between points of view, Madison does a fantastic job of weaving everyone’s stories together in ever more complex ways. The number of twists this story takes while still holding onto the central two issues is astounding, and I could never quite put it down, or put it out of my mind when I wasn’t reading it. I took it out to read everywhere I went, and not all them were appropriate places for reading a romance book. At least I was reading it via iBooks, so no one could tell what exactly I was reading unless they peered over my shoulder.
My only issue with the book is that the miscommunication between Keene and Sophie was dragged out for far, far too long. One of them should have caught on sooner. It was a bit unbelievable, but at the same time, miscommunication is what happens when people don’t outright say what they mean. Sure, George and Amelia take forever to resolve their issues as well, but their’s is a much more legitimate thing to be fighting about for the 4-6 month time period during which the book takes place.
Overall, I really enjoyed it, and heartily recommend it for those over the age of 16.
HHC Rating: 3.75 stars