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Khanh the Killjoy

The Autumn Bride - Anne Gracie I understand this is the first book in a series, but part of what turned me off was the long setup and backstory of everyone involved. There's also very little passion and a halfhearted mystery plot that I just couldn't get behind.The backstory *takes a deep breath*: The heroine, Abigail rescues her sister, Jane, and two other girls from a brothel after Jane is abducted from a genteel poorhouse and almost forced into prostitution. She is narrowly saved from having her virginity auctioned off to the highest bidder. Abigail was meanwhile working as a much-used and underpaid governess to a snooty, unforgiving family who refuses to help her sister, and whose master is such a douche he would dock her half a day's wages for returning from her breaks even one minute late. After such a dangerous misadventure together, the four women, Abigail, Jane (her sister), Daisy and Damaris (workers at the brothel who help Jane escape) decide to form a sisterhood and escapes to London to try their luck at rebuilding their lives, where by equal strokes of luck and misfortune, they meet Lady Bea.Ok, now onto the hero. Lord Max inherited an title and a destitute estate, since his uncle spent everything into the ground. He is left to care for an aging aunt, Lady Bea, whom he actually loves. Since the estate is worthless, he decides to do everything he can to save his aunt's house and ships himself off to India for 10 years to make his fortune. Meanwhile, his aunt Bea is in extremely poor health and abused by her servants. Enter Abigail and her "sisters" to save the day. Lo and behold, Max returns upon receiving a suspicious missive about his aunt's health. He finds her well-cared for by the sisters, and is grudgingly thankful, but extremely suspicious of their appearance and identity.The rest of the book is involved with Max trying to solve the mystery of the four women who have taken over his household, talking to his friends of the same company in India (who will undoubtedly play major parts in upcoming novels), being a spoilsport and trying to deny his feelings for Abigail, and trying to figure out who is making some rather halfhearted attempts at Abigail's life.The book was just...OK. There was no great passion and romance or evena hint of a fizzle between the two characters. There is very little sex or erotica (which is just fine with me, by the way), but there's nothing that makes me feel like the characters are actually falling in love. The entire book feels like a setup for future novels more than anything, I just found it extremely bland.