In the vein of Sarah MacLean, a sexy and evocative Victorian romance between a vengeful duke and a fiery redhead from an author who is a. Duran, Meredith-Luck Be a rattribillvordo.ga 4 MB. 13 Duran, Meredith-At Your rattribillvordo.ga KB. 23 Duran, Meredith-Written on Your rattribillvordo.ga KB. 3. Meredith Duran is the USA TODAY bestselling author of ten previous novels. Meredith Duran Author () (). cover image of Fool Me Twice.
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Fool Me Twice book. Read reviews from the world's largest community for readers. In the vein of Sarah MacLean, a sexy and evocative Victorian romance. Read Lady Be Good: Rules for the Reckless 3 by Meredith Duran ePub. Read Lady Be Don't miss That Scandalous Summer or Fool Me Twice. +. Why Must. Download Fool Me Twice book by Meredith Duran epub pdf fb2Type: book pdf, ePub, fb2, zip Publisher: Pocket BooksReleased: March
They need a strong hand to put them to rights. But as he studied her, his perfect face held an absolute lack of expression. Rather refreshing to find a duke who actually works to help the poor and slum-dwellers to rise.
They play a role in the awakening of the entire household and it's master. And then celibate till the heroine! Love that about a hero. You know, I often find it hypocritical in many romance novels, where a hero loved his childhood friend but still does not mind to sow his wild oats. Honestly, Where is the commitment? Yeah, read that to find out: Very well. If I am satisfied, we will discuss the specific nature of my offer.
And if I am not. In addition to forgery and extortion, there is also the matter of your theft from me. Why permit him to do so now? Her pride demanded better of her. I was her secretary—did you know that? All those letters, I stole from her. Indeed, in the interest of good relations, you should give her a chance to convict me, too. And perhaps Lady Ripton?
Yes, why not contact her as well? She took a ridiculous pleasure in it. A piece of honesty; you are learning. Well, do begin your tale, Miss Holladay.
The clock ticks. Very apt. Thankfully, it was not a crazy title like - The virgin secretary, falling in love with the mistress, blah blah, you get it. I could not stop grinning at that one, still am! He he! The hero rescues the hero-they kiss, make up and confess their love.
Ugh, hate it when a near-tragedy has to make you realize that you love someone The heroine happily forgets the whole scary encounter of kidnapping and then the novels ends.
No therapy needed. How abrupt! So, I can't explain how much relief it was when did not happen in this story! I could go on and on about how much I have adore--love this story. But now, its time for you to read it. I bet Meredith Duran would make that a great story too. My Favourite line, said by the duke repeatedly to Olivia: Where had that come from? He, too, seemed shocked. He gawped at her for a long, silent moment. Then he pivoted away. She started around the chiffonier—checked when she heard him loose a roar—more leonine than canine, to be fair—and then came a great, thunderous crash.
He swung back into view. They spun her around so violently that she lost her balance, and grabbed onto the nearest support, which turned out to be—him. She swallowed. Suddenly it seemed important to say something. And perhaps. This is where you would have kissed me, I think. The first time. When we were both. Barely out of childhood. And the first time I kissed you. View all 15 comments. Mar 10, Ursula rated it liked it Shelves: This was a difficult book and I cannot say I enjoyed it as such.
It was beautifully written, as Duran books always are. But the hero, Marwick, was very problematic for me. And that significantly diminished my pleasure as I read the book. Here's the thing: I am all for the tortured hero or heroine although in HR it is usually the hero I get that life damages people and everyone is flawed.
I don't want to go into why- you have to read the book. Suffice to say, from where he had been in his life, there was a very long way to fall. And he fell. Mostly it was to do with his public life, ironically. Emotionally, I am not sure whether he really had the full range, so his pain seemed more wrapped up in the public humiliation that he feared, rather than the personal pain of realising his wife had betrayed him.
After all, he had not really married her out of love but rather as a political accessory on his path to becoming Prime Minister. So he became a savage recluse, living in filth in his rooms, allowing his household to go to rack and ruin while he raged and dreamed of murdering the men who had slept with his wife, a woman who had told these men his secrets to undermine him in Parliament.
That was her revenge, because he had ruined her chance of marrying the man she has really wanted. The hero clearly had no sense of irony along with his frightening lack of a sense of humour as he cowered in his room, plotting his own murderous revenge.
The heroine, Olivia, while sweet and in many ways very strong, was just putty when it came to him. Her own life, her origins, were so much more difficult than his had been, but instead of wallowing in self-pity as Marwick did, when he wasn't being a bastard to everyone, even to his own brother, whom he purportedly loved she was pro-active, taking charge and trying to make a life for herself in spite of the odds stacked against her.
In large part, she actually shamed the hero into snapping out of it, although the way he treated her was nothing short of disgusting. And the crude way he spoke to her, the violence and contempt in those words, was really off-putting. I suppose you could put another construction on it and say it was also self-contempt that triggered the language, I am talking the "C" word here. Finally, she was in his employ.
After Weinstein and the metoo stuff that is going on at the moment, this was really hard to swallow. To bully, intimidate and ultimately seduce your housekeeper, because you are a Duke and you can is unforgivable.
To refuse to listen to Olivia when she tries to explain her situation, so that you cause her to nearly be murdered, well, that is just arse-hole behaviour and he just could not come back from there for me. I never felt Marwick was truly remorseful or sorry view spoiler [he behaved like a total shit when he collected her from jail, even after seeing the bruise on her cheek and realising she had been bashed in the face, then proceeds to sleep with her.
I guess he felt he was having such a hard time, poor thing, that he was justified in his actions. Ms Duran has created some much more sympathetic heroes. Tortured, flawed, yet uncompromisingly honest with themselves, and in the end, able to achieve a moment of self-realisation that permits them to make amends, to redeem themselves and grow into better people.
Unfortunately, Marwick was not one of them. View all 21 comments. All the other mansions on this street looked polite and elegant, neatly confining themselves within rows of trimmed hedges. This house, on the other hand, sprawled. She spied a gargoyle lurking above one cornice, glowering at her. Of course the Duke of Marwick would have a gargoyle carved into his house! You must admit, you do need a haircut. His fingers loosened; they slipped over hers as they withdrew.
I have given them all cause to aim for my throat. Miracle of miracles! Dead men pay no salaries. It would shame generals, Emperors, Professional pirates. But managing to pick the right one—that is truly worthy of praise. Nobody would judge this man the right one. But she knew him as no one else did. I Highly Recommend This Series. Is My Favorite https: Oct 28, Caz rated it it was amazing Shelves: Following the sudden death of his wife, Margaret, Alastair discovered that what he had considered to be the perfect marriage was nothing but a sham.
His wife was not only regularly unfaithful to him, but the men she chose to betray him with were his political enemies men, to whom she would divulge his plans and political secrets. From the letters that emerged after her death, not only was she actively conspiring against him, she and her lovers were laughing at him behind his back.
The manner of her death — from an overdose of opium — and his discovery of her treachery sent Alastair into a downward spiral. At the beginning of the previous book in the series - That Scandalous Summer - he was arguing with his brother Michael, over the fact that Alastair, wanting nothing more to do with marriage, was demanding his brother marry and get to work producing an heir without delay. The overwhelming rage he feels at the actions of his wife and her lovers, and at himself for allowing himself to be duped; his self-pitying frustration and the constant temptations to violence he feels have turned him into a recluse.
His servants are terrified of going near him because of the threat of violence and as a result are running wild in the house with nobody to care what becomes of either house or master. Olivia Mather — now going by the name of Olivia Johnson — appeared in That Scandalous Summer as companion and secretary to the heroine, Elizabeth Chudderly, who is now married to Michael de Grey.
Once in possession of what she believes to be damning evidence that could ruin him, Olivia plans to blackmail Bertram into leaving her alone. Olivia presents herself at the house as an applicant — the sole applicant — for the position of housemaid, only to find herself offered the job of temporary housekeeper. What follows is a delicious slow-burn of a story in which Alastair is gradually coaxed back into the world of the living by OIivia, who stands up to him, regularly disobeys his orders, answers him back and, most importantly, tells him the truth and refuses to allow him to wallow in self-pity when he has so much to offer.
By degrees, Olivia re-humanises him, and along the way the reclusive duke and his no-nonsense housekeeper indulge in a number of completely inappropriate given their relative statuses conversations in which they argue and bicker constantly.
Marwick sacks Olivia several times, but she always ignores him. He held it up so she could see the spine: The Count of Monte Cristo , by Dumas. Are you seeking inspiration? I assure you, after Dantes spends years and years locked away, growing into a ragamuffin, he emerges quite deadly.
Why, the first thing he does is to cut his hair. Was there some purpose to your visit? If not, you are dismissed. Hesitantly she lowered the mirror. But through it all, there are these two, wounded people who share a deep emotional connection and who need each other very much. His way of dealing with betrayal was to retreat into himself. He had that luxury. Olivia, alone and friendless - and a woman - had no alternative but to fight. The romance is beautifully written, and Ms Duran takes her time with it, building the sexual tension gradually but potently, giving even the slightest touch a real emotional and sensual punch: A little shock bolted through her.
She stared down at his head, all that luxuriantly waving blond hair, and suddenly felt unable to move. This job required her to touch him. To plunge her hands through his hair and. For no apparent reason, she suddenly recalled the feel of his hands on her wrists. His thumbs slipping across her pulse. Her stomach somersaulted. His shoulders were solid muscle—even here, at their tops. She could feel them flex a little beneath her fingertips, and the sensation made her redden. She shifted her hand up, to avoid that muscled bulk.
But now her knuckles skated along the nape of his neck, and his bare skin was startlingly warm, very smooth. Three snips bared his nape—and she found herself staring, somehow startled by it: His spine made a hard knob of bone at the base of his neck. In public, his collar would always hide this nexus of muscle and bone, even when his hair did not.
It was a secret, intimate, vulnerable place. How many eyes had beheld it? His valet. Perhaps she had kissed it. It seemed like a spot one would enjoy kissing, were one his lover. I think that might win the prize for the sexiest hair-cut ever: And that, for me, is Alastair at the beginning of the book.
And when he finally emerges from his bastard-dom, he's true hero material; the intensity he exhibited when in his "beast" phase never really goes away, and serves to make him even more compelling. View all 7 comments. Jan 24, Keertana rated it really liked it Shelves: Oh, this was good. I didn't expect too much from it, despite the high ratings, likely because the set-up seemed doomed from the start but, this book.
It's a difficult one to explain, only because it doesn't sound good--Olivia, an intelligent young girl, is on the run from a powerful duke who, for a reason unknown, wants Olivia dead. A poor orphan, completely alone in the world, Olivia is tired of running every time she begins to settle down. When she uncovers a secret that the Duke of Marwick ha Oh, this was good. When she uncovers a secret that the Duke of Marwick harbors blackmail material against all the powerful lords of England, she makes it her mission to infiltrate his household and escape with the papers that will grant her freedom.
But the Duke of Marwick has been locked in his room for months. Ever since the death of his first wife, he has not been himself and, as Olivia enters his household as a housekeeper, she realizes that before she can get her hands on the documents she needs, she will first have to lure the beast out of his lair. Olivia is no physical beauty and Alastair is far from a beast, in appearance, but Fool Me Twice reads much like a classic tale of Beauty and the Beast with a historical twist.
Olivia is snarky, witty, and brave, taunting Alastair and forcing him, slowly, to resume living. Meanwhile, she never ceases to search his house, whipping it into shape from her position as housekeeper and struggling to earn the respect, both of the lazy servants in the home and of Alastair who is both amused and enraged by her disregard of his authority.
Their sexual chemistry isn't evident from the start but it grows, slowly but surely, and as Alastair grows into himself we begin to see that he is a true match for Olivia's strength and courage. Another aspect I simply love about this book is that it doesn't venture down the path we expect it to. It doesn't follow a typical romantic set-up in the least and the unpredictability of what is about to happen--the sheer thrill and adventure of it--make it exceptional.
I've read a lot of romance novels this month where the set-up has been stellar and the sexual tension simply leaping off the page but the ultimate pay-off seems too hollow for the struggle it took these characters to be together.
With Fool Me Twice, though, that pay-off is well worth the wait and every page is perfectly crafted. I only wish I could re-read it as it if were the first time because that experience was ever so lovely.
Nevertheless, I know this is one I'll be picking up in a few weeks, months, or years and sinking into; just like coming home. View 1 comment. Even though I dislike revenge plots, I must get finally got around to reading this one, which won the RITA for long historical romance.
Unlike some revenge-based stories, this one is cleverly done, as one would expect from such a talented author. The romance between Olivia and the duke builds gradually, and the cross-class nature of their relationship is not glossed over. I thoroughly enjoyed this audiobook narrated by Alison Larkin. Now, on to the rest of the series! Oct 02, Bubu rated it it was amazing Shelves: I actually have to re-read this one to write a review.
I loved it when I first read it but I wonder how I'd read it now. View all 22 comments. Read more reviews like this at http: Fool Me Twice started off with a lot of potential. I loved the idea of a maid searching the house of a rich Duke to clear her name; however as the novel quickly started to take on darker tones the less I started to like it.
Though the writing itself was good I just couldn't get my self into the story because of how much I ended up hating the characters and lackluster plot. The number one thing I disliked about this novel was our h Read more reviews like this at http: The number one thing I disliked about this novel was our hero, Alastair.
Cruel, abusive, and brooding, the more I read about him the more I hated him. There was absolutely no affection between him and Olivia and he spent the bulk of the novel plotting all the ways in which he wanted to hurt her and then sort of forcing her to have sex with him. Though she never said no she never said yes either and that bordered so closely to the edge of rape that I just wasn't okay with it.
Not only that but Alastair didn't even feel a bit of remorse later, I might have had at least a smidge of respect for him if he felt bad later, but he only got more abusive as the novel went on, making me absolutely hate him. Olivia wasn't as bad as Alastair but I didn't particularly care for her either. She had an interesting back story but I spent most of the novel just plain confused about what that whole back story was.
I think Duran was going for a slow reveal of information to keep the reader guessing but she didn't reveal enough in the beginning of the story to make me curious about what happened next, I was just plain confused.
Not to mention she was such a pushover when it came to Alastair; instead of standing up for herself she lets him use her over and over again. There were moments she was so dumb I wanted to throw this novel across the room. Honestly, the only redeemable aspect of this novel was the cover, and maybe some of the side characters.
Polly, Jones, and the other maids occasionally me laugh and even though they irritated me a little sometimes I enjoyed the banter between them and Oliva. They were the most real characters in the whole novel, though annoying they added at least a bit of lightheartedness to an otherwise dark and abusive tale.
I didn't like them, but they were honestly the most likable characters in the whole novel. Though the premise sounds interesting I just can't recommend this novel. Fans of Fifty Shades of Grey and the like may enjoy it but as someone who doesn't care much for semi- abusive characters and dubious consent I just couldn't enjoy this one.
Feb 17, Jacob Proffitt rated it really liked it Shelves: This is the second in a series and both main characters first appear there in some detail. So I recommend reading in order, even though this is a much better story. I'm going to get this out of the way because it's all the negative I have to say about this story: Alastair's reaction to finding out his dead-of-opium-abuse wife was cheating on him and deliberately undermining his political goals is all of the self-pity in the world wrapped into a single, egotistical package and lit on fire by the h This is the second in a series and both main characters first appear there in some detail.
Alastair's reaction to finding out his dead-of-opium-abuse wife was cheating on him and deliberately undermining his political goals is all of the self-pity in the world wrapped into a single, egotistical package and lit on fire by the holy brand of St.
Which means for the first parts of the book, I had the hardest time taking anything about him seriously. Put your man-panties on, bucko, and soldier on for pity's sake. You're making us all look bad with your "I can't leave my bedroom because of the pain". Fortunately, Olivia doesn't coddle the big baby which means lots of lovely sparks fly and at least one empty bottle.
I loved how well-matched these two were and the foundation of respect they build yes, even though Alastair is being a big whiner. Part of that is accomplished by her going through his household papers that include descriptions and notes and rough drafts of his past political efforts. So she gets to know more than what she sees. And he gets to know who she is directly and that was lots of fun, too. Duran proves a great hand with dialogue in conflict and I just loved seeing these two push at each other for their respective reasons—up to and including the hidden landmines that were eventually going to blow them to hell and back because the mines made sense, including why neither character could clear them sooner even as reasoning, brave adults.
And I loved who they ended up becoming and that both realized that while they couldn't go back to the memories of the best selves they idealized in memory, they might just end up in a happier, more fulfilled place being who they became. Man I love when I can download into the long-term happiness in a story.
Anyway, I'm knocking a star off for the place Duran has Alastair in at the beginning. The rest of the story was outstanding and I enjoyed it immensely. A note about Steamy: There are two explicit sex scenes and some extras that probably add up to a bit more than another. And they weren't short. So this is on the way to the high side of my steam tolerance, but not quite there yet.
Frankly, the book could have done without it. Their relationship was as much about them coming together emotionally and mentally and the physicality of it was more a distraction than anything else. Jul 22, Daniella marked it as hr-purgatory. Welcome to my HR Purgatory shelf! In Roman Catholicism, the purgatory is where the souls of the dead wander in an indefinite state.
They stay in such a state unless they "become fit for heaven" at some point. Similarly, this shelf is where books that I am warned about stay—untouched and unread—unless a very compelling reason forces me to read them. The hero needs to take an anger management class, apparently. I hear he throws a bottle at the Welcome to my HR Purgatory shelf! I hear he throws a bottle at the heroine, and does this angsty man thing where he punches the wall next to her.
And he keeps getting better! After he fucks the heroine, he says this: This meant nothing, he wanted to warn her. This was for my own pleasure.
I have promised you nothing. I am no man to make promises, anymore. View all 12 comments. Feb 19, Nefise rated it it was amazing Recommended to Nefise by: Aug 04, sraxe rated it it was ok Shelves: I got sick of reading how golden and beautiful and angel-like Alastair is pretty much after the very first time I read it. He was such a rude, unnecessarily cruel and wrist-grabbing vat of angry that I couldn't even pretend to like him or try and overlook some negative aspects of his character that, admittedly, I've done with some other characters.
Honestly, at what point was I expected to start liking him? First he's just an ass and throwing bottles and fists against walls and being a recluse. First he's just an ass and throwing bottles and fists against walls and being a recluse It has the type of resolution that I hate: I hate those. Oh, and Olivia, too. I liked her I did "I was rooting for you But, then again, she made him her choice and that says enough about her, I suppose.
She literally says and I quote That ain't romantic in the least! And then they're all being kiss-y and romantic and: I was a perfect villain. Never, not really. During your first meeting he threw a bottle at your head. Within ten minutes of your first verbal exchange, he slammed a fist next to your head while crowding you against a wall and touching you.
He uses sexual innuendo and touching to run you off whenever he pleases. He felt you up post-betrayal after refusing to listen to your reasoning What are you on?? Jul 21, Ira rated it really liked it Shelves: The Hero was suicidal.
Have you read that type of hero in Historial Romance yet? He is really suicidal, I mean don't let him hold a gun because he will smash his brain out with it, not just behaving stupidly and end up killing himself. And the heroine is so special, thats why I like this one so much, she is awesome. Today, I found there are two more books in the series and I don't have a clue who are they.
Perhaps I need to read this book again View all 4 comments. She has a way with words, Duran. This is a beautifully written book, heart-wrenching in it's honest documentation of a range of emotions - grief, rage, guilt, joy, fear.
The author excelled, especially in the beginning, in capturing the hero's emotional black-hole, his shutout of the world as his defence mechanism following the death of his esteemed wife and revelations of her multiple betrayals of his trust and their marital vows.
Alastair, the powerful Duke of Marwick and predicted future Prime Minister was in self-imposed exile not just from society, but also from his family and friends and even his household staff. Olivia Holladay arrived on his doorstep seeking employment on false pretences, aiming to infiltrate the household in order to locate vital documents that might save her life and grant her the peaceful and safe existence she had been yearning for.
With the Ducal mansion in disarray without Alastair's firm guidance, while he shut himself in his room these many months, Olivia soon found herself propelled into the position of housekeeper of this anarchic residence. She reluctantly took charge of the recalcitrant staff, partly to aid in her personal mission, but more because she was a decent and responsible person, who could not ignore things and people needing fixing. And boy, did the Duke of Marwick need a good dose of fixing to get him out of his catatonia and back into the land of the living.
Her stubborn and no-nonsense attitude was just the antidote for his self-pity and shake him out of his apathy. His first response was to sack her. So was his second response, but she knew his words carried no effect, unless the man himself crossed the threshold of his room. Her determination to get him leave his room and return back to the world he previously dominated might have been born out of desperation to get her hands on these life-saving documents. But, as she worked her way through mountains of papers in her search for what she needed, she gained insight into the magnificent man Alastair was, an articulate and acutely intelligent social visionary and achiever of nation-changing greatness.
With this insight, her respect grew for this sharpening image of the duke that was and her determination to reconcile the current indifferent, depressed recluse with the brilliant man of the past. The book ebbed off a bit in the second half for me There was a threat of sexual violence, terminated not by Alastair coming to his senses, but by Olivia defending herself.
This just seemed so contrary to the inherent decency of his character and ruined their later sexual intimacy as the bad taste of that episode lingered. Olivia's lack of appreciation for the sweet enthusiasm by which her long-lost family received her also seemed a bit cold-hearted. He had worlds in his eyes; they were magnetic.
He was a force of gravity, and his presence, even in this blackest moment, could not be confined to the small, dark space he had made here for himself.
The force of him felt like an invisible wave, overwhelming her, crushing the air from her lungs: He was larger than this room, larger than this house. Why had he tried to make himself so small? But that is all you may expect from me. You understand that, of course. But some stupid, girlish, hopeless part of her was stung by his coldness—a very large part of her, in fact.
Almost all of her. He understood the source of his own assurance: But she, who had nothing, walked through the world with her chin held as high as his, and nothing seemed to shame her.
How was it possible? Wow, what an amazing book! Bravo Ms. He was not a sympathetic character in the first book but something about him touched me. I am so glad the author decided to make him a hero of her next book. The slow and beautiful transformation of Alastair was truly breathtaking.
The person who was responsible for it was Wow, what an amazing book! The story flows beautifully, the depth of characters, their transformation, the angst- it is all well done. View all 6 comments. May 08, Addie H rated it really liked it Shelves: Just oh wow. Where has MD been all these years, and how have I failed to pick up her books? At the end of the book I am not sure Alistair actually deserves Olivia He sounded so disheartened by his lie.
Olivia restrained the urge to touch his elbow in comfort. Johnson, to want this position. But it was not for her, she realized. He meant that it would take a desperate woman to wish to work for him. His contempt was all for himself. His hair stood up every which way, but least he had buttoned his shirt.
I am not one.
Like that moment when the off-key string finally came into tune and joined with the chord, and the air vibrated with purity: They should not be amusing each other. Anyone looking in at this scene, anyone who did not know them, would mistake them for pleasantly bickering lovers.
What a strange thought. Whom did she think she grasped in the darkness? That man whom the newspapers had heralded? Or the man who had gripped a pistol and spoken of murder? He put his face in her hair, dragging her into his lungs, hard, deep breaths full of her.
Let her settle in his lungs. Let her penetrate every pore. The face I saw through the darkness. And it seems that I know it even better than you do, if you doubt your own beauty. Dec 31, Laura Renee rated it it was ok Shelves: This book was the first of Duran's I really didn't like the preview put out in advance.
Unfortunately, it turns out the big issue in the preview crazy unsexy power imbalance wasn't very much remedied in the rest of the book. I have no fault with the heroine's spine; she refuses to be intimidated by him, even when he often scares her with violent behavior red flag! What really got to me, though, was his narration, how he thought about her and their relationship.
On the positive side, it was This book was the first of Duran's I really didn't like the preview put out in advance. On the positive side, it was actually very IC for someone raised to be a duke, i. On the negative side, it did not make for a sexy relationship or one that the romance novel reader wants to root for. This is what first pinged my "oh no bad news" radar, in the preview, as the "hero" Alastair broods over his unfaithful dead wife whom he did not murder, she died of opium overdose: He'd learned Margaret too easily, and never learned her at all.
He would not make that mistake again. The next time, he would not leave the bed until he had mastered the woman in it. He would learn that trick, no matter how much study it took. I stared at that paragraph for a while, wondering if maybe it meant "master" as you master an academic field Also when you speak of "mastering" a person As they said in this book, three hundred patients had to be immediately transferred. What they didn't say is that some of those patients certainly died because of that childish tantrum.
Now, look. I'm a sucker for erotica featuring dubcon dubious consent, like when one doesn't explicitly ask for permission and the other one's reaction -- not just physical, but emotional -- is torn, undecided, at least at the onset of the sex scene , and power imbalances are really good at creating such scenarios.
But what's much more difficult for me to take is a whole romance novel resting on power imbalances. I know Olivia isn't a typical maid or housekeeper. But even though she makes it clear he doesn't intimidate her, he still often scares her by acting violently or touching her waaaaaay beyond what propriety allows. The very first scene between them the one where they actually exchange words, I mean, not the one where he throws a bottle at her illustrates this perfectly.
One minute he's punching the wall next to her head; the next, he's stroking her lip and caressing her neck in a vaguely threatening manner. They're in his bedroom with no one else present, as the butler already fled.
Let me remind you again that this is the first time they're speaking to each other -- he has no idea who she is, all he knows is that she's his new servant -- and this is how he treats her.
This is not sexy. Another example of a deeply unsexy quote from his POV: He knew why he wanted her. Just as an engineer coveted strange new devices, he wanted to strip her, disassemble her, study her parts, and make her secrets his own.
If he'd actually said that aloud, I think Olivia wouldn't have been so quick to let him put a ring on her finger. But a few scenes that I liked: Nice lesson.
But the next sex scene, in the carriage, was also deeply disturbing. You have to read the whole scene to grasp the really unhealthy possessiveness on his part, encapsulated in this: When she tried to sit up, to assist him, he forced her back down with another, deeper kiss.
He did not require assistance. Be still , he did not say, because he did not want her cooperation; it was her submission he craved, and it was his challenge to earn it. Give yourself to me. But the thing is, what those relationships require in order to be healthy and fun and avoid getting seriously abusive, is a verbal agreement , a mutual understanding for the conditions and limitations and a safe exit route for either of them to break off the entire relationship without repercussions.
And in Fool Me Twice , that possessive, dominating attitude is entirely contained in Alastair's head. Olivia has no idea what she's getting into, and that deeply alarms me. She's one of the most intelligent, self-sufficient heroines that Duran has written so far, and I don't think she's going to be down for all of this!
And on another subject, I'm concerned for her social life after this marriage. Elizabeth was putting it mildly about how hard things were going to be for her -- the majority of aristocratic women will NEVER accept her, she's too much of a huge blinking threat to their own status, because their whole world is built on the class structure and the fact that those servants they order around can never rise to someone they'd sit and have tea with.
So yes, I hope Olivia will get to hang out with Elizabeth, and maybe the heroines of all of Duran's other contemporary novels, as otherwise the loneliness and rejection she'd suffer would likely take a huge toll on their marriage. I can't tell you how much I want to see sequels to a lot of Duran's novels, especially the ones that involve marriages across class, like in Your Wicked Heart , and I want to see a follow-up on Elizabeth's drinking problems, because I refuse to believe her marriage to Michael magically cured that.
Did people back then even know to avoid alcohol while pregnant?? But yes, the only people who will even talk and make nice with Olivia will be those trying to win favor with her husband, which she will KNOW and that will make her even MORE miserable. This is not a happy future! Am I taking this too seriously for a romance novel series? Maybe so, but the thing is, Meredith Duran is too damn good of a writer, and she excels at the historical detail. I can't lower my expectations for her.
In conclusion: Power imbalances played for straight romance creep me out! Jul 04, Aly is so frigging bored rated it it was amazing Shelves: This one was times better then the 1st one! I'm kind of loving this series: Second re-read. Still not a fan. From the first object lobbed at her head through multiple firings and escalating if unconvincing threats of violence, Olivia perseveres in her housekeeper role due to her practical need to dislodge Marwick from his lair.
As her snooping reveals the man beneath the madness, her interest and her respect grow, as do her inner misgivings about the ultimate effect of her betrayal. Oddly no one from the duke to the lowliest housemaid is convinced of her housekeeper persona, yet all seem quite sure that she is more than she appears. The task of a well-trained staff, particularly in a grand home such as this, was not merely to obey the master, but also to exert a civilizing influence. In some households, the staff even took pride in that role.
And why not? Left unchecked, the excesses of the aristocracy would have outraged England into a revolution by now. So Olivia vacillates between conniving thief and woman with a mission of reform. And well she might, because plainly Marwick and his household are one hot mess.
Alastair, Duke of Marwick has been emotionally shredded by his now blessedly dead duchess. As Marwick becomes more rational, the reader recognizes what a self-involved asshole the duke can be. It is dishonest to pretend that mental imbalance evokes only kindness and understanding in those who deal with its victims, so kudos to Duran for striking this delicate balance.
Besides, butt-headedness makes a character seem more real than pathos does. Whether she is rescuing his books, critiquing his grooming, or admiring a nipple, Olivia is a hoot.
Yet inevitably change happens. I love this trope hate, hate, hair. The give and take between Olivia and Marwick is pivotal to the plot and enables a slow reveal of their hidden back stories, but there is far more going on than lively banter or extended internal monologues.
There is a point in the story when the action shifts from personal to public in a way that almost draws a line through the middle of the narrative. Here is the point where Marwick evolves into Alastair for me. However, emotional and intellectual sparring take center stage through most of the novel, and the usual quick shedding of clothes and inhibitions is replaced by welcome restraint.
The only strip tease is the soul-baring sort that builds the very best kind of tension. In spite of her cleverness and down-to-earth practicality, Olivia is an innocent, and the author conveys the normalcy of this state by making it something Olivia herself is indifferent to. After all, she is fighting for her life. Virginity is just the default position so to speak, and the reader only becomes aware of it when Alastair does. Virginity is more an incidental attribute than virtue incarnate.
Although their attraction is undeniable, it is never separated from their other emotions. He grabbed her wrists and bowed his head to kiss each one, like a vassal paying tribute. She watched him do so and felt, for a dizzying moment, taller than him, a presence larger and grander than her flesh could contain. By his own account, he had seen her, recognized her, as brave, intelligent, resourceful. And he wanted her, against his will.
Yes, let him bow his head; let him admit to being conquered. When Olivia and Alastair finally become intimate, the act is deeply passionate and convincingly unique to these two individuals. In a relationship characterized by intermittent bullying and an often brutal frankness, they are honest when it counts the most. I think a love scene that is personal and unique must be the most difficult thing for a writer to convey.
Simply put, Duran writes a gorgeous love scene that is beautifully integrated into the story. Then she follows up with a morning after like this:. Are you afraid that you disappointed me? Last night, I mean. That right there is why I love Olivia and Alastair and this book. Oh, I looooove this book. I appreciate your review since, in spite of my aforementioned love to this book, I was never able to express it as well as you.
I have not read the rest of the series, but from what I have heard, the books that follow this one Lady Be Good and Luck be a Lady are just as good, and worth trying out.