Long ago, Hugh Trevalyn invented a fiancée to fend off marriage-minded females. Now he must procure the perfect girl to play the part.
Who better than Amelia Grant, his oldest and dearest friend? She alone might understand—and forgive—his moment of madness upon beholding the beautiful Lucy Meriwether, a moment that resulted in Hugh’s first real proposal of marriage and Lucy’s vow to meet his ex-fiancée in the flesh. However, as the proposed conversation snowballs into an elaborate charade involving Hugh’s rakish cousin, scandal, and inappropriate kisses, as Hugh risks Amelia’s friendship to win Lucy’s hand, a wise reader has to wonder: What exactly are the rules of engagement? And, after the battle, whose heart will be won?
Review: Rules of Engagement started off rather oddly for me. It just seemed a bit much to take in. But give it a few pages! I really enjoyed that the hero, Hugh Trevalyn, wasn’t a super bad rake, where women have to pull their skirts back when he walks by and he isn’t allowed out in polite society. That was refreshing. It seems that Hugh has gotten himself into quite the predicament. That’s what happens when you tell fibs! His original “love interest” Lucy really got on my nerves. I’m not sure if it was the author’s intention to make her annoying and unbelievable, but if it was, she succeeded. I couldn’t stand her. The entire time I was just wondering why in the world does Hugh want this lady? And to top it all off, I was immensely suspicious of her. For someone who was supposed to be so demure and innocent and blah, blah, she came off as sort of conniving and I definitely thought she was playing him!
I really like stories where people don’t seem to know what is right in front of them. It’s sometimes infuriating, but it’s so common in real life. Hugh just didn’t seem to know what he was doing. He was usually endearing, although sometimes annoying and somehow superficial. Amelia really made up for it in this story though. She ties everything together and more than makes up for what some of the other characters lack.
A few times I had to just shake my head at all the crazy and seemingly pointless shenanigans. But again, it all ends up being tied together. I like how Leigh was able to make the characters so very real in such a short story. They were real, made mistakes, fabricated stories and sometimes were just plain outrageous, but generally lovable and funny.
The dialogue and wit in this story was very solid. It’s a great story about old friends turned something else, the consequences of tall tales, and finally, finally, seeing what is right in front of you. About second chances. And, in some ways, third and fourth chances. Sometimes you can’t see what’s right in front you, but love is kind and forgiving. It’s about friendship. And Jillian Leigh really got this right.
Favorite Quote: If you are able to hurl a book all the way out into the field, and thereby brain some unfortunate creature ruminating in its pasture, I’ll celebrate the feat by having the ill-fated animal dressed with rosemary and potatoes, and eating it for dinner.