In short - this novella was fabulous. But the very same things I do not like about novellas in general were the things I did not like about this one. They move too quickly and the story doesn't unfold as naturally as in a full length novel.
I LOVED Hugo and wish I could read more of him. The banter between Hugo and Serena was so endearing. This was my first time reading anything by Courtney Milan. I had heard good things from fellow readers, and I was not disappointed. She writes beautifully, and tugs at the reader's emotions while still maintaining a crisp and witty style. This prequel served its purpose brilliantly... it got me invested in the characters and in the history; and it made me really want to read the first full-length book in the series. In short, it made me a Courtney Milan fan. I think having this background and set-up will definitely make reading the first book a richer and more rounded experience.
But again, some of the problems that plague the short form of novellas still got in the way of full enjoyment of this story. I wasn't fully buying Hugo's aversion to having a real marriage, and Serena's complete 180 with Hugo happened too quickly. But, these are things that were purely due to the length, and I know that if this were stretched out the author would have no trouble further developing these bits. For what is there, it's amazingly well done. Looking forward to reading the next one.