Sabrina Jeffries' “Hellions of Halstead Hall” series is about five siblings who have done nothing but garner gossip within the ton. They've been given an ultimatum by their grandmother: all five must marry within the year, or all five get disinherited. The third installment, How to Woo a Reluctant Lady, follows the story of the first Sharpe sister to take the eerie plunge into love's territory.
Our story begins 18 years ago, when Minerva first fell in love with Giles. She's nine years old, he's 18 and has no idea. Nine years later, Giles still has no clue, yet manages to crush her love, rudely brushing her aside when she finds him stealing some papers.
Now Minerva is an authoress of Gothic novels. Everyone around her has a theory about who her main villian is based upon. For the most part everyone is wrong. Except Giles, who knows personally all of the little nuances she's put in there about him.
Giles has spent the last nine years working as an informant for the government. He plays up his part as a ne'er-do-well within society to help him ferret out information from within the ton. Now, as he looks towards his future and starts to make plans, he know he has to get out. He also knows he can't let Minerva go on writing these books.
Giles finds the advertisement in the newspaper that Minerva has placed for bachelors to come interview for her hand. He knows that he wants no one else to marry her, and that she's the only one he could imagine marrying himself. Unfortunately, his reputation does not place him in the good graces of her family. Beyond that, Minerva doesn't want to marry him after the way he treated her. After building his reputation for years as a lost cause, he has to convince everyone he's actually honorable.
Giles and Minerva were fun. Having known each other so long, they were already comfortable with each other. They were able to play off each other in every situation, like they'd been working together for years. They fit each other from the very beginning, no one had to compromise for their relationship to work. They just ahd to learn to trust each other.
The biggest conflict was Giles not wanting to risk telling Minerva the truth about his work for the last nine years. I have to say this annoyed me a lot. It was one thing that he had a secret he had to keep, but every time he thought about it, it was about how he couldn't trust her not to put it in her books or tell other people about it. The first time annoyed me, the fourth or fifth time I was to the point of wanting to smack him. She never once displayed herself to be someone he couldn't trust, he built it all up in his own head.
Overall though, How to Woo a Reluctant Lady is a really good book, I liked the characters, I liked the overall plotline with the siblings, I enjoyed the romance storyline. Besides that little bit of forced conflict and some blatant foreshadowing, it was a solid book.