I must admit, this book started off on the wrong foot.
Honestly, don't expect readers to take a liking to characters when their first words pertain to the best way to kill a cat, even if in jest.
That being said, it got better.
Jac is a spinster who wants to experience life, even for a short while. So when her brother Daniel offers to teach her fencing if she disguises herself as a man and accompany him, she does not hesitate.
It's very difficult to not feel sympathetic towards Jac, cat hater though she might be. There's something infinitely sad about a brilliant woman languishing away in a society which firmly ostracises women like her. And even sadder to know that all over the world women still struggle like this.
It's in her manly disguise that Jac meets Aspen. Aspen, a duke, has the left side of his body and face covered in scars. He longs for a wife and family, though most ladies of the ton can barely look him in the eyes.
So when Jac becomes fast friends with him we get to know the man behind the scars.
I really liked the friendship between Aspen and Jac, even if he didn't realise she was a woman. Though it was a little unbelievable that he wouldn't notice who she was, especially while dealing with her as a woman in balls.
I know we're supposed to just go with it, and I did, but I couldn't help thinking how, if I were to do this, you know, come back from the club where I'd been smoking cheroots and discussing politics, to appear at a ball in a gown and be like, "Good evening, long time no see!" my friends would just go, "Are you an imbecile? We just saw you an hour ago..."
My favourite part of the book had to be Jac's brother Daniel and his relationship with Henry and Henry's daughter Laura. It was so sweet! It made me really sad that Jac wasn't a part of that for so long...
Despite my complaints regarding the treatment of cats and the improbability of the start of the plot, i highly recommend this book. It gets much, much better as you read on, so give it a chance!
buy Spinster's Gambit