The Fairest of Them All written by Cathy Maxwell
Publication Date: May 31st 2016
Series: Marrying the Duke #2
Narrated by Mary Jane Wells
Length: 7 hrs and 32 mins
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The penniless orphan of a disreputable earl, Lady Charlene Blanchard thrives on the adventure of picking the pockets of unsavory gentlemen to survive. But due to her extraordinary beauty and prized bloodlines, she is hand-chosen as a potential bride for the Duke of Baynton, who is on the hunt for a suitable wife to provide heirs. All Char has to do is act the part she was born to play and charm a duke she’s never laid eyes on into proposing. Except the duke turns out to be the tall, dark and sexy stranger who just caught her red-handed as a thief!
Or is he? Jack Whitridge is the duke’s twin who had “gone missing” over ten years ago. Now back in England, he knows that the supposed Lady who has his brother’s love is hardly duchess material—except he needs her to save his adopted country from war. He is willing to bargain with her heart, until he finds himself falling for Char . . .
Don’t want to read the whole review? Click to jump to the Skinny Review.
I honestly don’t know where to start reviewing The Fairest of Them All. To say that I was disappointed is an understatement. I am INFURIATED. Okay, I’d like to explain why my feelings are this… harsh. I absolutely HATE insta-love! Sure, there are books that can do this well, but this was NOT it! There is just too much insta-love in this book that I cannot… ARRGHH!!
Sigh. Another reason why I am extremely disappointed is because The Fairest of Them All made my books pubbed in 2016 that I didn’t get to read list. And yes, I was excited to read this book.
Before you proceed, I will have to warn you that there WILL BE SPOILERS! I am this upset that I may not even try to hide them in spoiler tags.
Reasons why I WAS EXCITED about The Fairest of Them All
- Lady pickpocket. Lady Charlene IS a pickpocket. She dresses up as a boy so she could pickpockets because her uncle has stopped sending her money. I ABSOLUTELY LOVE this trope!
- She is chosen as a potential bride for a Duke but then FALLS for his twin instead. AGAIN another FAVORITE trope.
- ROMANCE. The blurb promises a lot of interesting scenarios where Jack will fall in love with Lady Charlene.
- A man who will slay your dragons. THIS statement was in the prologue!
Reasons why I am EXTREMELY disappointed by The Fairest of Them All
- Lady Charlene is a pickpocket. BUT THERE WAS ONLY ONE PICKPOCKETING SCENE! I wanted more! At least another scene that will show that Lady Charlene IS AN GOOD pickpocket! This was also mentioned in the first chapter. She was SUPPOSED to be good, but it wasn’t shown. Instead, we are told she is but the only pickpocket scene showed to us was the one where she was CAUGHT?!
- She FALLS for his twin. There was NO FALLING IN LOVE here! We are made to believe that Charlene and Jack fell in love with each other AFTER they meet a FEW TIMES? WHAT? Did I miss anything? One: He caught her picking his friends’ pocket and he runs after her. Two. He glimpses her as she opens the door to her home. Three: They have a heart to heart talk after he followed her meet The Seven. Four: She defends him at a dinner party. Five: He presents her with Leo’s hat. Yeah. THOSE were the only times where they “met” and interacted and IT WASN’T ENOUGH to convince me that they were falling in love.
- Romance. WHAT romance? There was NO SPARK between these two. Heck, he was still in love with his dead wife!
- A man to slay your dragons. WHAT DRAGONS? I would have been happy had there been ACTUAL dragons flying about in Regency England! All Jack did was threaten and blackmail The Seven so that they will not blackmail Char. I mean, it wasn’t even done HEROICALLY!
- Insta-love. There were TWO people who said they LOVE Charlene. The Duke said he was in love with Char when HE DID NOT EVEN KNOW HER! Jack, the Duke’s twin said he loved her when…. see numbers 2 and 3 above. And Charlene said she LOVED Jack when he “slayed” her dragon. Who wasn’t even THAT threatening!
As much as I want to love this book, I COULDN’T! If this wasn’t an audiobook, I would not have finished it!
Books like The Fairest of Them All
- Earls Just Want to have Fun is about Marlowe, a pickpocket and thief who is believed to be the long-lost daughter of an aristocrat is taught social graces by the Earl, Maxwell, Lord Dane. I absolutely LOVE this book.
- The Earl Takes All is another romance where the lady falls for the twin brother! This book became a DNF for me because of Edward Alcott, the Earl’s twin PRETENDS to be the current Earl (who passed away while on a trip with his twin) and masquerades as him to the Earl’s WIFE who he has LOVED FROM AFAR.
What are your feelings about insta-love romance? Are you like me who absolutely loathes this trope?