Elizabeth married William, the Duke of Westhaven when she was a gawky girl and fancied that he was her prince charming until he left a month into their wedding; leaving her to face the gossip and scandal. William believed that he was a hero rescuing the orphaned girl who was living at the mercies of her cruel uncle and never imagined that his leaving to explore the world would cause any problems for Elizabeth. When he returns he finds her much changed and is confronted with all the pain he has caused her over the years and Elizabeth does not know if she can forgive him. When two cartoons appear that depict two different scenarios involving one of them scorning the other the rest of the duchesses of London, and their husbands, are all thrown together to try to determine who is trying to destroy their reputations and their marriages. So much has changed and each of them is a different person than when they were younger. Elizabeth must discover if she can forgive William and he must help her move beyond their past and see that their future together is full of hope and love.
I am a sucker for stories like this where the characters have so much emotional turmoil between them and so much to work out especially when it involves two characters who are secretly harboring strong feeling for each other but just don’t know how to express it. Elizabeth and Westhaven were both fun and well developed characters, and not just for such a short novel, but completely. It was clear that they were both hurt and confused by past actions and they both had a lot to learn with the others’ help. Their relationship progressed nicely throughout the course of the book and it helped that they spent so much time in each other’s company and talked about their issues and I was glad that it was not stretched out as it would have been in a longer romance. There was only a little bit of sex between them at the very end and it was rather disappointing since it had been building up for a while and they talked about it a lot. The plot involving the cartoons was not as well integrated in this novella and came to an abrupt end and took up a little too much space for my taste.