I really liked the premise of this story. A second son comes home after years away, to fall for his brother’s intended. Ethan is everything Trevor is not. He thumbs his nose at propriety and makes his money in the boxing ring. He knows the Roselyn he remembers from childhood would never be happy with his stuffy older brother. But no one has the chance to find out, because Trevor is murdered before the betrothal can even be announced.
In some ways, the book delivers — particularly with the hero. It’s hard not to root for Ethan. He is sexy and wears all black. He’s a boxer who has made his own way after being kicked out of his family. He is smart and sardonic, and he is totally clueless about society. But perhaps what I like best is that the things he loves about Roselyn are those things which show her true character. He loves her independence… her spark. And he is wonderfully steadfast in his feelings.
But this book isn’t a total win for me. The heroine spends more than half the book believing that Ethan killed Trevor. Think about that for a second. More than half the book. At the 54% mark, I was ready to put it down –not because anything in particular happened there– but because I felt like it was dragging on to the point of ridiculousness. Obviously, not much can happen in the romance department when the woman thinks the hero is a murderer. And in the meantime, there is all this sniping and distrust. I’m ok with enemies to lovers, but I felt like this thread forced an antipathy that wasn’t even really there.
As for Roselyn… eh. Her character didn’t have the same cohesiveness Ethan’s did. On one hand, she is proper and worried about dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s of her future –and on the other she is throwing mud and doing the deed in public. I know she is supposed to be conflicted, but her voice wasn’t as clear as Ethan’s was, and I was ambivalent about her.
Then there is the Trevor mystery. I figured out who the villain was right away, but the why was a pretty good reveal. I felt this this part of the story picked up more in the second half, just like the romance did, leave the book feeling imbalanced. The pacing was very uneven –and the book could have benefited from the Great Misunderstanding being uncovered much earlier in the story.
I’m glad I stuck around for the second half. I was glad to see the romance really get underway. Ethan really had to work for his HEA, but I was happy for him when he finally got it.
*ARC provided by publisher
Click to purchase: Amazon
The Infamous Heir
by Elizabeth Michels
Release Date: March 1, 2016
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca