A really excellent marriage of necessity story. At least, a necessity for the groom, he was on the verge of bankruptcy and that's what drives him to seek a bride among the merchant classes with a rich dowry. The heroine, Mary, accepted the offer because she had become secretly infatuated with him, after one brief meeting. Some aspects of these characters personalities brought Georgette Heyer to mind, in a good way. Sinjin, the hero, was as hot tempered as the hero of "Devil's Cub" and the Mary in this book is as straightforward and practical minded as the Mary in "Devil's Cub", but not quite as placid; on a couple of memorable occasions, she loses her temper too.
I loved the way the hero slowly grew to appreciate Mary's fine qualities, and she learned to see beneath his hard surface. The author did a great job of showing us his emotional distress, after having his life turned upside down. The synopsis makes it sound as though he was irresponsible, when actually he was doing his best to improve his estate after generations of neglect. There were also a great bunch of secondary characters, including his friends and Mary's family.
This book reminded me again why marriages of almost-strangers, whether for convenience, desperation, or by accident, are just about my favorite romance trope.
Confident he will one day become a duke, St John continues his pleasure seeking lifestyle. But when his great uncle, the old duke, marries his mistress unexpectedly and produces an heir, StJohn must marry money or wind up in debtors prision.
Sinjin St. John is confident that he will one day become a duke, and all the pieces of his comfortable life are in place. He will marry a beautiful society miss and continue his pleasure seeking lifestyle of gambling and women. But when his great uncle, the old duke, unexpectedly gets married and has a son, Sinjins plans are destroyed. Sinjin must marry amdn marry money, otherwise it is debtors prison for him. And who would make a more biddable wife than the shy, gentle tradesmans daughter Mary Pepperidge? What sinjin doesn't expect is to lose his cynical heart to a woman who is scorned by his world, but whose quiet grace touches his soul in ways he never thought possible.