The book started out great. The first page really was touching and my heart really ached for Prudence.
The writing is nice, especially the first 1/3 part. The writing quality is acceptable all throughout the book. By that I mean the story flows nicely. It does jump around quite a bit so you must concentrate on where and when the characters are at any given time in the book. There are quite a few flashbacks for both Prudence and John, since they both harbor secrets. Prudence having been raped by Dudley. John being actually a footman, not the nobility he claimed to be.
The relationship is a very sweet one, since John reached out to Prudence and helped her overcome her fears, which are all too understandable. It is admirable how John managed it, even though I have reservations about how realistic it is. I too, am jaded and have little confidence in the male population.
All that being said, the story fell flat for me as a romance story. The emotions are not as strong as they should be. The pull between principals characters are less palable as it could have been. It is also a book that can be read in 3 hours. I skimmed through the book in many sections because those descriptions are not necessary for me to follow the story. Usually if it is a good story, I savour every word. I want to know how they were positioned in the room when they uttered some casual words. I want to know who was there with them and whether they observed something for the readers' eyes. That did not happen in this book. You can skip all the details and stick to pretty much the main plot line: A girl raped at 18 finding her prince charming, initially resisted his pursues but reluctantly accepted him, then discovered a secret about him and felt betrayed that she had to sever all ties. Hero made a huge come back by doing something drastic and the prince and the princess lived happily ever after.
The book gets 3 stars from me for being an ok read. I probably would not read it again and I am also not interested in other books in the series. I do think the book had great potential, but the execution was rather mediocre.