Fool Me Twice by Meredith Duran
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Journey Through One Man's Dark Night
"Why torment yourself with happy endings if you don't believe one is possible."
THE STORY: Olivia Mather comes to the home of the Duke of Marwick masquerading as a housekeeper to find secrets of the man who has been hounding her for years. She hopes to find the Duke's secret files and use it to give herself some peace. What Olivia discovers is that the Duke has retreated into his rooms after the death of his wife and doesn't come out. Olivia realizes that she needs to get him out of his room in order to search it. Thus, begins her efforts to help the Duke take control of his life again.
Alastair de Grey had everything. After a childhood filled with his parent's scandal, Alastair had become the "kingmaker" -- a political leader with the perfect wife. When his wife died of an overdose, Alastair discovered that she was sleeping with his political enemies. Alastair's fear of scandal and his deep desire for vengeance result in him retreating from the world. When the temporary housekeeper comes into his home, she doesn't treat him as the duke, but needles and challenges him.
OPINION: Simply sublime. At times dark and angsty, at times sweet and gentle, the story of a strong but desperate woman and a man who is dealing with his own disappointments is a fresh complex and romantic story.
The central conflict in this story is between Olivia and Alastair. The sparring and challenges that go on between the two is so satisfying. I especially loved how Olivia begins by trying to get Alastair out of his room for her own purposes, but quickly becomes engaged in helping him because she wants him to recover himself.
Olivia is such an incredibly strong character. She is moral even as she lies. She is unselfish even when she has good reason to take something for herself.
Alastair was not a likeable character in the prior book THAT SCANDALOUS SUMMER but this book redeems him. He is definitely a character that lives in shades of grey. He has judged himself harshly but it is his recognition of his mistakes that ultimately makes him likeable.
One of my favorite parts of the book is how Alastair's mental state is depicted. When the book begins, Alastair has pulled into himself and his point of view clearly demonstrates this. As he opens up, his interior dialogue becomes more normal.
Powerful story about how people deal with the disappointments in their lives.
WORTH MENTIONING: The ultimate plot point was a complete surprise to me. I like books that can do that.
FINAL DECISION: I highly recommend this book. My favorite Duran book so far.
CONNECTED BOOKS: FOOL ME TWICE is the second book in The Rules for the Reckless series. While it follows directly from the previous book in the series, this book can be read as a standalone.
STAR RATING: I give this book 5 stars.
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