This book felt like two distinct books. In the first part, Henrietta comes across to me as particukarly whiny and selfish. Everything is all about her, and she gives little thought to how her actions or words affect her closest friend, Thomas. Thomas has been in love with Henrietta forever, and while I admired his thoughtful nature, he was a bit of a wuss where she was concerned, frequently declaring his love when he was rebuffed at every turn.
The second half occurs because Thomas realizes she's never going to be his, and becomes like his father, being a rake and sleeping around. Which opened another can of worms for me. Henrietta still comes across as immature and a bit selfish for the rest of the book.
Thomas' mother, at first despises Henrietta because she's broken Thomas' heart one too many times, but halfway into their London stay, all of a sudden they are best friends. That seemedan abrupt chamge that I didn't understand.
Once Thomas and Henrietta do get together, the purple prose he spouted was nauseating.
What Ives did very well was to contrast the country life with the depravity of London. She doesn't shy away from showing the lifestyle and the more Thomas immerses himself in it, the more his disgust with himself grows until he comes full circle and realizes that's not the life he wants.
Overall, there was a lot going on here, between henrietta's unrequited love for her cousin, her father's colleague's unrequited love for Henrietta, to Thomas' unrequited love for her and then her love for him while he turns her away. I think it tried to do too much, and while I enjoyed the writing for the most part (purple prose aside), my dislike for the heroine kept me from fully enjoying this book.