I had a really hard time getting into this book and then finishing it. It simply wasn’t that good. Primarily the issue was a lack of character development. They were very one dimensional.
Arabella’s issues were repeated ad nauseam but they never developed into anything truly deep. Repeating the same issues over and over again isn’t the same as character development. I never felt attached to her and her complete unwillingness to fall in love eliminated any true possibly for any emotional development. She felt exactly the same for the whole book, until the very end when she didn’t. I never got any feels from her. Supposedly she felt driven by passion but it never seemed like she felt a pull towards Marcus. She responded to his advances, but she never made any on her own and was totally fine, save for a bit of disappointment, when he wasn’t making them.
Marcus had absolutely no development at all. We’re never told about his motivations, his past, his fears or desires. At the end of the book I know a few of his interests, a little about his parents marriage and his friends. And thats it. I think only a handful of paragraphs were spent on developing him. Even when he’s rejected by Arabella in the end after he’s fallen in love with her, we don’t get to witness any of his inner thoughts or feelings about it. The few scenes we did get where we got to witness the development of his feelings for Arabella were good. I did get some good feels from him. But they were sparse.
There was a lot of sex in the book but I found it to be uninspired and on the boring side. And I don’t mean that I wanted something kinkier or more risqué. I mean that it lacked feeling. The scenes were described without much emotion being involved. I didn’t feel passion because they were never frantic or desperate for each other. With the exception of one scene, where they finally have sex, almost every physical scene was controlled and happened when they were planned for. I felt no tension, no lust. No aching. No intensity of feeling. If every scene had the intensity of the first full sex scene, it would have been great. But unfortunately they didn’t.
Lastly, I overall found the book to be on the boring side. Not much happens. They have a lot of sex. They talk very little and learn very little about each other. When it’s mentioned that they desire or love the other I kept wondering why. Every conversation between Arabella and her sisters is the same. They worry about her falling in love. She insists she’s not. Reasons for not wanting marry are repeated. There’s some stuff to do with the academy that Arabella runs, but its just tea and dancing and described in passing. One student runs away and that’s the “excitement” for the book. And even then there is no conflict between Arabella and Marcus and it’s resolved very quickly. And the story line with her mother is wrapped up in a few pages.