Actual rating: 4.5Recommended for HR fans who want to read about believable, flawed, mature characters. There is no pettiness here, there are no fits, no tantrums, no spitefulness, no determination to avoid a relationship for the sake of not wanting a commitment and a fear of love. Courtney Milan always writes exceptional characters, and this book follows that very satisfying formula. Unlike the first book in this series, I found the characters to be interesting, the plot, while partially politically-oriented, to be far more tolerable. Overall, a very good book with wonderfully sympathetic characters.*One note of complaint. Can we have an accurate cover once in awhile? None of this generic pretty-girl-in-a-pretty-dress shit. The heroine is unapologetically fat, with a 37-inch waistline. She prefers disgustingly bright, garish clothing, deliberately so. I understand not wanting our heroine to wear a yellow-and-purple polka-dotted and lined with plaid, underscored with 3 different types of lace on the cover but at least let her look like she's remotely plump, pretty please?Miss Jane Fairfield is an heiress worth 100,000 pounds. There's just one thing keeping her from making a very advantageous marriage, herself. She deliberately dresses in atrocious fashions, befriend the wrong sort of backhanded, bitchy women who will compliment her to her face and laugh at her behind her back. She deliberately makes outrageous and fluffy conversation. She is, without a doubt, the joke of the Ton. She likes it that way. Jane is not looking for marriage, she is counting. Counting every single day until her half sister Emily comes of age so that they can move out together and be free of their stuffy, backwards, controlling guardian. And her plan is working fantastically, despite her ridiculously large dowry, she cannot get a husband. The gentlemen of the town avoid her at all cost, to them, she is the "Feather Heiress.""'Imagine someone starts beating you with a feather. Imagine that they never stop, until one day, the constant annoyance of goose feathers pushes you over the edge. In a fury you strangle the person who has been beating you. Then you hang for murder. You, my friend, have been beaten to death by feathers.'Oliver snorted. 'Nobody is that bad.'Whitting put his hand to his head and rubbed at the furrows on his brow. 'She's worse.'"Mr. Oliver Marshall is as straight-laced as they come. He wasn't always so. He was born the bastard son of a duke, and it has been ingrained in him that he is always unworthy, always lower, always worth less than his entitled and titled peers. He seeks a political career, he wants to change--if not the world--then at least some of its policies. Oliver needs to be respected, to be admired. He does not need someone like Jane. He does not want her money, for with it will come along the rumor that he married her only for her money. He does not need Jane herself, because of her intention of making herself an unmarriageable laughingstock.Oliver is such a flawed character. No, there's none of the tortured soul, of the I will never fall in love because I am worthy of no one stock. His anger comes from within. He may disguise it well in public, but internally he rages against the injustice of the social order into which he was born, and into which he has been dismissed, because of what he could not control---his status as a duke's bastard. His political status has been hard-fought, as he grits his teeth and bows down to the peers who mock him in the upper echelons of society. Oliver outwardly bends to their will, inwardly he seeks revenge.He first meets Jane and attracts her attention due to his kindness, due to his perspicacity in seeing through her disguise; his unwonted kindness towards her shakes Jane's resolve."'You,' he said, with a small gesture of his hand, 'are an anti-chameleon.''I am an ant-eating what?''An anti-chameleon. The opposite of a chameleon,' he explained. 'You change your colors, yes. But when you are in sand, you fashion yourself a bright blue so that the sand knows you are not a part of it. When you are in water, you turn red so that everyone knows you are not liquid. Instead of blending in, you change so that you stand out.'"They learn from each other, they draw strength from each other. They help each other conquer and break the mold that society sees of them. They have an undeniable attraction and love for each other, but there are barriers that seems insurmountable. Namely, her need to protect her sister, and his political aspirations. She cannot leave her ill sister to their guardian, and he needs a proper wife. The proper wife fits into a mold, and as much as Oliver loves Jane, he realizes that it would be selfish to force her into that mold."'You saw what they were like tonight. The women who marry politicians. Part of me wants to ask you to become one of them, but how could I? Ask you to mute the best of you? To make yourself into a drab little wren, when you’ve become a phoenix? I could never forgive myself if I asked you to extinguish your fire.'"Do I really need to tell you how this book ends? It's not so predictable, is it? The journey of how they got there is so enjoyable, and despite the lack of a major, compelling plotline, this book was just so enjoyable because of the characters and how they developed. This was such a sweet, lovely story, and Oliver is a dream."'I want a career. But not that one. Not the career where I hold my tongue as other men berate women for wearing too much lace. Not one where I keep quiet while my youngest sister appears before a magistrate for the crime of speaking too loudly. Not one where the price of my power is silence about the things I most hold dear. I don’t want you to compromise yourself. To be any less than you are. I won’t ask you to change for me because I’ve realized that I need you precisely as you are.'"