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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

ARC Review: Fool Me Twice by Meredith Duran

After a few months of reading many good historical romances I was anxiously waiting for an exceptional one. How glad I am that I found Fool Me Twice by Meredith Duran! I enjoyed this late Victorian story from cover to cover. Duran’s writing evokes that aching in the heart that only occurs when my emotions are completely engaged (is that what is meant by “pulling at the heartstrings”?). Delightful characters, witty dialogue, and clever situations make Fool Me Twice a winner.

Olivia Mather is a desperate woman. She must find some secrets from her past in order to free herself from the danger that is following her. All her heart desires is to live a peaceful life in her own home. Olivia uses a friend’s connection to help her land a job in the household of Alastair de Gray, Duke of Marwick where she plans to locate the information she needs. Olivia is surprised to find herself made the housekeeper of a household in chaos. The duke has holed himself in his room and will not leave due to the betrayal and death of his wife some months before. Olivia finds herself drawn into his crazy world as well as being drawn toward the sad duke himself. Both Olivia and Alastair have some very large baggage to confront before they can find their way to a longing relationship.

I absolutely loved Fool Me Twice. Meredith Duran is a superb writer, blending humor, sensitivity and depth of emotion in a way that pulls the reader completely in. Olivia and Alastair were opposites, but the type that is like two halves of a whole. Alastair is physically beautiful; Olivia’s looks are more ordinary. Alastair is wealthy and influential; Olivia is poor and powerless. But the real differences come in how they tackle their difficult situations. Alastair has allowed the betrayals in his life to totally undermine his confidence in his judgment and character. Olivia, on the other hand, has not been overwhelmed by her circumstances. She has an indomitable spirit and an intense will to achieve her goals. She inspires him and he, in turn, protects her. It’s just a lovely fit.

As I mentioned earlier Fool Me Twice is one of those books that grabs my emotions so deeply that I actually ache. The book manages to engage all of the emotions – humor, sympathy, exhilaration and more. I also was pleased that the villains were multi-dimensional with clear motives. The resolution for the central conflict issue was well done and believable. I really have nothing to criticize about any part of the book. It was beautifully written and extremely well executed. The best book I have read in quite a while.

**ARC provided by Author**

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