I've struggled with this book for over a week, mostly with apathy to be honest. I wanted to like Gareth and Juliet but couldn't muster anything more than benign meh. Hated Lucien and Gareth's buddies, but wished to know the dead Charles a lot better. (am I to suppose that Charles isn't really dead? Bummer that.)
Gareth has few redeeming qualities and those he does have, he questions in himself. Juliet is wishy-washy and though I'm halfway through, I won't finish, because I don't care about either of the main characters enough to see what happens.
I am bothered by the writing, in that the story takes place in the Revolutionary War era, yet very much reads as though that is an affectation. The casual way folks speak in this belies the fact that these people are supposedly born of nobility. They curse in front of the lady and not a one of them seems to care about honor or integrity.
The childish antics of Gareth and his posse got old very quickly. Gareth recovers from a gunshot wound in a day. Juliet travels unannounced, with her illegitimate child, to England, where she ends up on her dead fiance's brother's doorstep, and he, the duke, acts a fool from the start, all with an ulterior motive. To my mind, take the money away, and the immature Gareth would shape up. Machinations of Machiavellian proportions seemed a bit convenient.
Does a duke really ride out at all times of the night to follow his brother, who at one point he catches painting the genitals of a statue purple? Doesn't he have minions for that?
The omniscient POV is prevalent, telling us about someone lurking in the shadows,etc. There is a lot of "someone did this, but Juliet didn't see it...." I always thought I liked omniscient, but in reading many older books, I find that I don't at all. I much prefer the clear cut POV, where the reader discovers things as the characters do.
This is "vintage" in that it was written in the late '90s. Everyone has a POV, which was the fashion in writing then, but it is distracting, particularly when I didn't give a flip for most of the characters.
Massmarket or not, I didn't enjoy what I read. My rating is strictly based upon the likability of the characters, which for me, was next to nothing. I trudged on in the hopes that it would improve, but at 50% on my Kindle, I concluded that it wouldn't.
I did buy the second book re: Charles and will read that one, as he seems to be the only one of this group that had any sense at all, and that was to leave the family home and join the army. Maybe getting away was the best thing.