Good HR with Spunky Characters

Fool Me Twice - Meredith Duran

My Initial Reaction... 
I really enjoyed Fool Me Twice - it had a few twists that I wasn't expecting. And it fulfilled my craving for a good historical romance!

The Narration... 
Alison Larkin was the narrator for Fool Me Twice and she was a good fit. I don't know if she normally reads with a British accent or if it's her native accent, but it never felt like work. The accent - which she used in varying ways for men and women - was pretty necessary since Fool Me Twice takes place in England, and she successfully transported me there. As is normal for many female narrators, some of her male voices sounded a little off, but for the most part even they sounded great. I quickly got lost in the story and forgot I was being read to. 

The Characters... 
I was worried when I started Fool Me Twice that I might feel disconnected from the characters, since it's the second book in the series and I never read the first. However, I never felt any disconnect and the only character (I suspect) that really overlaps between the two books is Olivia, the main character. 

Overall I liked Olivia. It takes a lot of spunk to decide your going to pose as a housekeeper and steal the Lord of the house's private documents to blackmail a member of the government. And as you get to know Olivia's past, it's not surprising that she has this kind of backbone. She has not had an easy life and is stronger for it. The only thing that really bothered me was that Olivia has so many contradictions. As the housekeeper she constantly makes a big deal about propriety and how the staff are behaving - even though she doesn't actually care about the household. She just feels it's so wrong. But then she makes these statements (which she follows through on) that she isn't a woman who believes only in relations after marriage. The contradiction really bothered me, but other than that, I liked her. 

Fool Me Twice includes the point of view of Alastair (The Duke of Marwick, who she works for) and I think this was essential to my liking him from the get-go. Seen only from Olivia's point of view, I might not have liked him because he was so mean to her! But he really is a man dealing with incredible anger after the death of his wife, who he learned had been betraying him their entire marriage. This knowledge made his angry moments rather hot, actually. He was just a very Alpha male - which I love. And the connection between him and Olivia was particularly great. Some of their banter was great for fans of sexual tension and when it escalated it delights those who want a bit more ;)

The Story... 
The story for Fool Me Twice was a solid one, with several twists that I did not expect. I figured them out literally AS they were being revealed. I love a story like that and I only wonder if reading book one might have made me have better guesses. I'm definitely planning to go back and read it to find out. But I never felt like I was missing any important information, so it does work on its own. 

The premise is that Olivia's been chased, since her mother's death, by the henchmen of Lord Burtrum (I'm unsure of the spelling - audiobook problems lol). But she's learned that Alastair has some documents that could blackmail him - so she goes to work for Alastair to steal the documents. This becomes a greater challenge than she anticipated because Alastair refuses to leave his rooms (where the documents seem most likely to be). So Olivia has to work on "fixing him" to get him out of his rooms - thus creating fun moments where they get to know each other and antagonize each other. 

One other element I really loved about Fool Me Twice was the passing between realms of the house. Olivia is staff, Alastair is the Duke. It had this Downton Abbey feel that I absolutely loved - and Meredith Duran did an excellent job capturing the historical world she wrote her characters into. 

Concluding Sentiments... 
A fun mystery with a sexy romance, Fool Me Twice was a thoroughly enjoyable historical and I plan to read more from this series. 

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.