After waiting five years for her fiancé to return from the war and marry her, Roxana Langley has been jilted! She may have longed for excitement, but this was not what she had in mind...
Who could possibly throw over a woman as beautiful and vivacious as Roxana? Certainly not Alex Winslow, the Earl of Ayersley, who has spent years trying in vain to forget his unrequited love. When he learns she's been abandoned by her cad of a fiancé, he finds himself offering a shoulder for her to cry on. Comfort soon turns into a passionate kiss—and scandal when they are caught in an embrace.
Only one thing will save Roxana from certain ruination: marriage to the earl. The match may save her reputation, but responsible, tongue-tied Ayersley is a far cry from her dashing former fiancé. She's convinced Ayersley is merely doing his duty...while he's sure Roxana is still in love with another man. Are they trading one disaster for another?
A little conflicted on this one...
I loved the premise, I I liked some of the story, and I loved the ending...but I didn't like the romance, or, rather, lack of it.
So, the story is that Roxana was engaged to an army officer for five years only to be jilted the day before the wedding. Her brother's old friend Alex, the Earl of Ayersly, has been in love with her for years and comforts her after the jilt. After ending up in a compromising position, they are set to be married.
Okay, let's start with the good. While this is a textbook plot with little variation from the norm, it is entertaining. The ending is sweet. The characters were, for the most part, interesting. That's about all I can come up with.
First off, it takes a while for the story to even start off, for Roxana's fiance to break off their engagement. It's not until over a quarter way through that if finally happens. So, while we're waiting for that to happen, nothing was keeping the interest factor going. We basically find out that Roxana doesn't like Ayersly and thinks he doesn't like her, while Ayersly is silently pining away for Roxana.
When it finally happens, things don't get much better. Roxana and Ayersly are the epitome of a communication lacking relationship. I'm being totally serious; they would just assume things about each other and react accordingly without ever actually talking about it. It's okay for that to happen once in a while, but it seemed like that was all their relationship was. There's very little actual romance. Sure, they sleep together, after all, they are married. But there isn't any...wooing for lack of better word. They don't really develop a relationship. They kind of just push each other away and, in the course of that, miraculously fall in love (or, really, Roxana falls in love since Ayersly was already in love) despite having barely spent any time together. There are a few sweet moments between them, but they are scarce.
I wanted to shake some sense into them so many times. They always assumed the worst in each other and refused to even consider that it might not be true. I'm sure they never heard the truth about assuming-it makes an ass out of u and me. And it definitely did several times over the course of the story. In truth, the worst part was Ayersly, though Roxana was plenty bad in this. You'd think he would seize the chance to make the woman he loves fall in love with him, but he didn't. He just pushed her away, acting like he was a self-sacrificing victim because he thought Roxana was in love with her ex-fiance. Roxana tried to put an effort into turning their marriage of convenience into a marriage of love, but Ayersly never complied. It was just so frustrating to watch their catastrophe of a relationship sit at a stand still for most of the book before they finally decided to see reason.
Major Wyatt, Roxana's ex-fiance, was a constant thorn in my side. He broke off their engagement, yet had the audacity to try to stop Roxana and Ayersly's marriage later and constantly pester them both. I wanted to hit him so many times and I honestly wish that one of the characters had done so.
Overall, Ruined by Rumor is only an okay book. While there were parts of the story that were interesting, they were greatly overshadowed by the negatives of the book. It isn't awful but it isn't amazing either. It was just good. Nothing more, nothing less. If you are okay with overlooking the parts that I just couldn't, I'm sure you'll love this book.
Thanks to Netgalley for a copy!