I've heard somewhere that the romance genre is less demanding as to the plot, characterization, and writing quality. Though I still cannot understand why.
This one demonstrates it all too clearly. It starts out well enough, with the absolutely brilliant protagonist who can do no wrong even if frequently described as evil, no, Evil (which probably consists in some love intrigues and duels while conveniently letting you preserve the honour intact). He has some witty lines, at first more, then less and less.
But the heroine is 100% cliche, incredibly beautiful and of course redheaded, obviously of noble birth in spite of a common upbringing, easily putting aside her enforced boyishness (which isn't saying things like "bah", but should go quite a bit deeper, at 19 years old!!), winning everyone's heart with some twinkling and dimpling (yeah, that's what it says), and then even more nobly sacrificing herself for love.
The piece about older man falling in love with a young girl is realistic enough. 40 years, middle-age crisis, all that. But to depict him as Reforming for Love's Sake and Rejecting Her Because He Isn't Worthy - no. Just no.
And finally about the writing quality. In a scene designed to be a climax, the nervous tension is created by having the protagonist's friends sit around saying that they're real nervous and tense, and that he has created such a tense atmosphere that their nerves are on edge. That's right, we wouldn't have known else. The absolute pinnacle is reached when in the middle of his monologue, which should reveal shocking things and make a criminal confess, one of the people in the audience whispers to another: "I wonder how he manages to hold his audience so still."