I think I was a little hard on this one at first.
I've read all of Cecilia Grant's three books. So far they've all started slow and sometimes her writing style, while beautiful, takes a bit of getting used to. In her first two books, the characters made the slow start less noticeable. Both of those books were stories of complete opposites. The leads were so different at first glance. So there were chapters full of back and forth, arguments, saying/doing the wrong thing, apologies that went awry, etc. And to be perfectly honest, there was more sex in those books. What can I say? I like when there's at least a few good sex scenes in my romance novels. And Cecilia Grant writes good ones, so the more the merrier.
This book on the other hand is a friends to lovers story. These are two people whose relationship is less fiery at first glance because they're so comfortable with each other. So at first they kind of bored me. I found Kate silly and Nick too stodgy. But as the story went on, and that comfort slipped away as romantic feelings got in the way, things got much more interesting. To paraphrase the slogan from "The Real World," they stopped being polite and started getting real.
That reminds me of another thing that makes this different from Ms. Grant's other books. They are all historicals, but the others occurred on the fringes of polite society. This one takes place right in the thick of it since both main characters are jockeying for increased social standing. At first I didn't like this, but as the book went on and this part of the story was revealed to be more layered than I originally thought, I didn't mind it.
To wrap things up, even though I didn't like this book as much as Ms. Grant's other offerings, in the end it was a very satisfying read. I found myself not only invested in Kate and Nick as a couple, but them as individuals as well. They both did a lot of growing up and made a lot of tough decisions. I found myself cheering them on by the end.
Finally, this is the third book in a series. I don't think you would have to read the first two books to get this one (although you should) even though the events of both those books heavily influence this one.