Jo Beverley's "Tempting Fortune" - #2 in the Malloren series

Tempting Fortune - Jo Beverley

I really wanted to rate this one higher, but the heroine's behaviour (and characterization) just kept pulling it down. In the end, I couldn't understand how her loyalty to her brother, who had effectively ruined her and her family's life, and her childhood acquaintance, who ruined her reputation in society, could overcome her love and loyalty for the hero, who had saved both her family's livelihood and her own reputation. Portia's impulsive and thoughtless behaviour just wore down my sympathy for her. And it made no sense in the context of what was supposed to be her character - a 25 year-old woman who ran her family's estate with competence and good planning.

My other beef with this book was the bitch-character Nerissa, whom I simply hated, even though I know there really are people like that, especially in the upper reaches of society (a couple of contemporary English duchesses come to mind).