Lorraine Heath is one of my "go to" historical romance authors. She creates characters and storylines that pull you in and have you dreading the ending because you don't want it to be over. So I was excited to crack open ONCE MORE, MY DARLING.
Lady Ophelia Lyttleton was the belle of society and a rather huge snob. She looked down her nose many times, but there was one person who she subjected to her especially nasty ayer: Drake Darling. So when Drake happens to find Lady Opehlia on the banks of the Thames with no memory of how she got there or who she is, he decides to provide a little payback to her nastiness and tells her she's his housekeeper. While he only meant to keep up the charade for a few days while he tried to figure out what happened to her, he discovers a woman who is much more to his liking than society's darling.
I liked Drake. He was a man who was torn by the way society looked at him and his own perception of how unworthy he was. Those two things would make it difficult for anyone to rise above and prove they are not what everything thinks. But Ophelia's cut of Drake, on numerous occasions, drives home his feelings of unworthiness. Despite being adopted by a family that loves him and having friends who would do anything for him, he still thinks he's this awful man who must pay for the sins of his father. And given how horribly Ophelia treated Drake, I thought I was a bit funny to have him pull this rouse on her. At that point in the story, I felt like Ophelia needed the set down and she learned not to treat others that way.
There is much more to Ophelia than what we see when we meet her. As we learn more about, in her role as inept housekeeper Phee, the ugliness that was Ophelia starts to peel away and we see a woman who rescues abused animals, befriends her neighbors servants and wants nothing more than to please Drake. There is a reason Ophelia was the hard nosed woman she became, but it was a shame that the woman we met as Phee was hiding behind the harsh, hard woman who would cut a man the way she did with Drake (especially given her true feelings for him). It was hard to like her, even when her true self started to come through. I know I should have felt more for what she went through, but it was hard to reconcile that with the nasty woman she was in the beginning.
I enjoyed the bulk of this book, but unfortunately my feelings for Ophelia tainted my view for the entire story. I felt like Drake deserved someone more. Someone who truly appreciated him, from the very beginning.