Nora Randolph never wanted a life of luxury. But when her mother falls in love with the heir to the British throne, their small-town lives are uprooted and every little girl’s fantasy becomes her reality. All too quickly, she learns the dangers of running in circles with the world’s elite, especially when she attracts the attention of Winston Academy’s resident golden boy.
Asher Frederick has known nothing but favor and fortune. The son of London’s most influential family, his future has been written in stone since infancy. But a tragic childhood loss redirects his course, and revenge has been boiling in his blood for years. When innocent and unaware Nora lands in his path, it’s as if the universe hands him the ammunition to finally drag his enemy through the mud.
But as his plan for vengeance gets more twisted, so do his feelings for Nora. And as her immersion into the upper crust dives deeper, she struggles to keep the secret she’s been guarding for eighteen years.
Heavy lies the crown, and when the ultimate betrayal blindsides her, will either of them survive the consequences that come crashing down on their heads?
This was a suggestion from Stephanie from Steph’s Romance Book Talk. Check her out on YouTube. She makes great videos! I love books about the rich and elite. Gossip Girl was one of my favorite book series when I was a teen. I also went through a phase where I was obsessed with British culture. Bearing these things in my mind, I expected to love this book. This didn’t happen, and I’m disappointed because I placed high expectations on the book which fell really flat.
There’s a book which takes place in the same universe, and I’m hoping I do enjoy it more. I even picked up a different book by Carrie Aarons because I believe I will like her other writing. Aarons can write romance well. Nora and Asher have this chemistry between them right from the start. Even though Asher wants to destroy Nora, he also seems to have a genuine curiosity in getting to know her much better. Nora is adjusting from being the daughter of a single mother to becoming royalty. Asher wants to ruin Nora because her step dad is the reason his mother is dead. There’s already a lot of tension between the pair. Nora is suddenly attending this fancy private school and living the jet set life. Asher has been privileged all his life so he plans to have fun with Nora before he crushes her heart and gets the revenge he wants so badly. Asher has a group of friends who he hangs out with, constantly getting into trouble and being teenagers. Nora is welcomed into this group, but she also knows they look down on her. There’s also Nora’s mother and stepfather who are planning a wedding while Asher’s father wants the family destroyed. Many events are happening to the pair, and it’s clear someone is going to get hurt no matter what.
Nora and Asher grow closer, but he’s only doing it because his father wants him to destroy Nora. Of course, he has feelings for her but doesn’t want to think about those when he wants the revenge for his mother even more than he craves Nora. She is happy getting close to him because she believes this will be a chance for her to fall in love, shedding her innocence and becoming a new person. Their friends know they are involved, but they both deny being a couple in the beginning because Asher is too much of a player to settle down.
Nora and Asher are spending more time together. Nora has feelings for him, but Asher convinces himself he doesn’t really feel the same for her. Asher is focused on wanting the chance to confront Nora’s step dad to share how he ruined a family.
So there’s a few issues I had with this book. It’s written in present tense, but it would switch to past tense in the same sentence. This got on my nerves so badly because I want to know why the author could not make the effort to double check her work and make sure the tenses match. It really threw me off because it doesn’t sound right when reading, and I hope someone tells Aarons she should fix this issue because it made the book harder for me to enjoy. This is literally the main reason I didn’t like the book as much.
My other issue… Nora keeps talking about how she was looked at weird in her hometown and people saw her different because of her ability. Since this was referred to in such a vague way, I kind of expected her to have a superpower. I thought she was going to be a witch or something. Turns out, she’s just a genius. And part of Mensa. Honestly, it’s just mentioned like hey I’m a genius. It’s a personality trait for her, and it didn’t really add anything to the story so I’m wondering why it was needed. Maybe the author was trying to show Nora is special, but I just see it as the character is a genius and it adds nothing to the plot. Okay then.
It’s kind of meant to be enemies to lovers. But it’s just Asher wanting revenge and Nora thinking Asher is amazing. I didn’t really buy the royal family aspect because I thought they had rigid rules, and it seems like Nora has a lot of freedom to do what she wants. I may be wrong, but I was pretty sure its inaccurate.
Asher ends up trying to get his revenge, but it just seems so rushed. He goes from I hate Nora to maybe I like her to let’s ruin her whole family. Then after he tells her step father what’s going on, the step father is just sad and is like your mother would not want you to be like this… so it’s not even dramatic. Just a life lesson where Asher and Nora fall apart.
So, I guess my takeaway is Nora is a genius and Asher is a broken man who needs to fix himself. The tension between them is great. I love how they interact and are written. I just hated how it seemed so rushed.
Nora and Asher do get their happy ending. Of course. It’s just weird the epilogue was after the book ended? I’m going to read the standalone novel in the same universe, and I’m hoping I like it more than this one.
I would say if you like books like Gossip Girl, try this one out. But beware of how annoying the tense changes are. I couldn’t get over them, and I still can’t. It’s definitely a YA read, but the author does write well. I’m planning to read Aarons other works, and I’ll make a better informed decision about my thoughts on the author.
Until I rant about books again,