I wanted to love it.
Really I did.
Cindy Blurb: Zoe Lexam had been missing for 12 years when she is delivered to her family's front door. Of course, other woman had tried to pretend to be the missing Zoe and had been shown the door quite quickly. This time however, the gossip hounds were abuzz with the tale of The Harem Girl and how this time, it looked like Lord Lexam had finally found his real daughter.
Lucien de Gray has lost everyone he ever loved including a stubborn little girl he knew as a young boy. Hearing she had gone missing when he was seventeen shut Lucien down and he believed her to be dead. He continued on with his life, or as much of one as he allowed himself. Since Zoe must be dead, Lord Lexam was surely being fleeced and it was his job to go and oust the impostor.
Only the minute he saw her he knew it was Zoe. It just wasn't the Zoe he remembered.
What I loved about this book was Zoe. She is a breath of fresh air but then, she would be. She was kidnapped and sold into white slavery at the age of 12. She became a gift for a powerful man's son and was married to an impotent man. What happens to Zoe for those 12 years is very much glossed over or the story would have been far darker. In fact, I imagine it was far darker, we just don't get to see that. Zoe escaped her captivity and finally made it home where she was going to live a life of freedom and obviously not look back at her past too closely if at all.
The problem is her mere existence is scandalous. Put her in a room with people and she'd be ruined in minutes.
In comes Lucien, the boy she once knew as a child, who is now a duke. Lucien decides he can make her acceptable by presenting her to the Queen and having her acknowledge Zoe.
Lucien and Zoe accomplish all of this with some cute banter and maybe a few longing looks. Although I don't remember that many now.
I can't say I warmed to Lucien. I think he was supposed to be charming when I thought he was just dull. Sure, he'd lost everyone he loved but it didn't seem to grant him very much character. He just seemed to flow with life and as long as he wasn't bothered he was fine. So having Zoe come into his life didn't seem to affect him all that much. Sure, she discovered a bunch of stuff happening in his household and he was forced to become a grown up and handle situations but for the most part - meh.
In the end I wasn't bowled over by their story. I think Zoe may have got the shorter end of the stick while the duke made out like a bandit. I mean, Zoe is fun and while the duke likes fun, he's still kind of flat.
And all the stuff with the servants. Bah.
This one was missing the zip for me. It wasn't the trainwreck that was Miss Wonderful and it certainly wasn't the beauty of Mr. Impossible.
If you are a Loretta Chase fan girl, have fun, if Ms. Chase is more hit or miss for you as she is for me, you've been warned.