Frowning slightly, she thought back to what she remembered of Shakespeare's comedy. Katharina, the headstrong elder sister of modest daughter Bianca, had scared away all of Bianca's suitors with her shrewish tongue until Petruchio appeared and promised to turn Katharina into an obedient bride.
When understanding dawned, Venetia gave Quinn an arch glance. "So I am the shrew?"
The gleam was back in his eyes, and so was the provocative devil. "You must admit you can be a real termagant when you choose. And you blighted your sister's prospects of marrying me."
"You never mentioned the parallels before."
"Because I knew you would bristle. I was bristling myself at the idea of being Pygmalion. Kate should have known better than to think I would ever want a statue for my wife."
"No, I can't imagine you would," Venetia returned with genuine amusement.
"I would rather have a shrew."
"Would you?" she asked skeptically.
"A shrew is more interesting by far. I am happy with the sister I married."
Although, I felt a little lost in the beginning and a little towards the end when more past characters came around, it wasn't too much of a trial to start the series here with book 4. I rather liked calm and cool Quinn and felt for Venetia every time she bristled because her view of men had been colored and she didn't have the life experience to see them any other way. I read some reviews that complained Quinn wasn't "rakish" enough to be called one but I thought that was one of the points the author was trying to make, he wasn't really one. The "tabloids" of the day sensationalized him and his doings to sell papers and Venetia fell for it. I do think the author could have emphasized this more by having more point of views from Quinn and giving the reader better insight to him. It's mentioned that he was always attracted to Venetia but as his friend grew attached to her first, he never made a move but he always liked her; this should have been played up more.
I thought after they were married and went to the country, about 35% in, is when the story really slowed down. Instead of having the couple grow to know each other with deeper interactions, most of it felt like filler. There would be hints to Quinn calmly but surely breaking through Venetia's misconceptions but other than tiny little look-ins to this, we mostly just get Venetia thinking "oh hey, maybe he's not a rake"; their time alone in the country felt like a wasted endeavor and I felt it all could have edited out.
I don't know if it was a consequence of having not read the other books but the whole assassin plot felt extremely tagged on, especially in the beginning. It consisted of three random short lived attacks on Quinn and then at the end it spun into a past generation decades old grudge that really didn't have anything to do with our couple.
The tropes of (sort of) enemies-to-lovers and forced marriage are often found in romance but I still found myself liking this story. There was a little more focus on the sensual aspects of our couple's relationship but I liked the way those scenes were written, in fact I found the whole story to be very affable. I wish we could have gotten more scenes from Quinn's point of view (I ended up liking him a lot with his calm, cool, but also unassuming teasing manner) and Venetia could have turned the corner a little quicker on her attitude towards Quinn but it captured my attention enough that I'll definitely check out the previous stories in the series, I hear talk of a pirate in the family! :)