Thoughts After Reading:
The Enterprising Lord Edward is the first traditional of Kasey Michaels I've tried, and I was tremendously disappointed. I have very much enjoyed Michaels' historicals in the past, so I'm not sure what went wrong. It had such an appealing premise, too: instead of a traditional where the hero unexpectedly falls in love with a companion or older sister while courting someone else, the hero is actually in love with the heroine from the beginning. He only pretends to court the heroine's cousin so that he can spend time with her. But the implementation was horrible. The entire story is basically a nonstop misunderstanding and off-color farce, all rolled up into one. The only redeeming quality of the book was that it had several solid moments of humor, and the only reason I finished reading it was because I really wanted to see the heroine get her HEA.
The hero starts out as a fairly typical character. He's a handsome, wealthy lord who has a reputation as a rake. He has a hefty sense of humor, which tends to be rather sardonic. He's also quite possibly the stupidest hero I've ever read about. He believes himself in love with the heroine, but says or does the worst possible thing everytime he's around her. Insults, witty slights, proposals of marriage that are stated in a such a way nobody in their right mind would take seriously... you name it. I completely understand why the heroine starts out hating him, he comes out looking like a complete ass! He comes up with these series of "brilliant" plans, such as courting the heroine's cousin... so he almost kisses the cousin in front of her. Or when they are forced to get engaged, and he tells the heroine how he plans on fixing it... all the while planning on convincing the heroine to marry him at some unknown point in the near future. I don't know if I can stress enough how much of an idiot the hero seemed to be, and - while I guess he had good intentions - I'm not sure he was deserving of the heroine. I just felt bad for the heroine. The reader finds out eventually that she has the body of a goddess, but has felt overshadowed by her blonde-haired cousin and so her spinster-style clothing has hid her large breasts, tiny waist, and the rest of her attractive features. If you thought you detected sarcasm in that last sentence, you would be correct. All she knows, for most of the story, is that everyone - including herself - considers herself dowdy and past marriage (at the advanced age of 20). So she ends up getting hurt over and over again with her interactions with the hero, since she's secretly nursed an affection for him. She has a very sharp (and witty) tongue, which she applies against the hero everytime she thought he was making fun of her. Personally, I applauded her "gumption".
On one level, I think I get what Kasey Michaels was trying to do with The Enterprising Lord Edward - she tried to turn it into a regency farce, with mix-ups and stupid choices that could be solved in a snap of the fingers at the end of the book. However, the experience was completely wasted on me because I couldn't relate to the characters at all. I just couldn't stomach the hero's inane actions, nor the hurt the heroine underwent frequently. My feelings at the end of the book weren't ones of happiness, but relief that the heroine could finally stop crying and mentally beating herself up. I'd recommend a definite "pass" on this one.