This is a surprising find! There was nothing really unappealing about this novel. The writing is competent, dialogue keeps to the period, characters are well-drawn, and story is compelling. The heroine, Miranda, is my kind of character. She isn't gorgeous, witty, and wealthy. Instead, she's plain, hard-working, and doesn't quite believe in herself or her own merits. I love that. Heroines who are perfect at the beginning of novels really turn me off. The hero, Marcus, is suitably moody and gruff. But, he has a core of honor. He's lovely. Their love story is satisfying as it unfolds. The fly in the ointment is Marcus's brother. He isn't just a cookie-cutter "bad guy." Merrill gives him some depth and leaves his ending fuzzy. I liked that. I also appreciated the fact that Merrill doesn't use lots of misunderstandings between the hero and heroine to create tension in the plot. That can be so frustrating. Instead, they end up discussing their misunderstandings at various points in the story and resolving them. Whew. That's much more satisfying for the reader. All in all, this is a wonderful new author, one I will continue to look for in the future.
a pretty good read... a woman of little means travels to me a Duke in the hopes of marriage.... they do meet and since she arrives unchaperoned during a storm, and there is no way back to town til morning, the Duke does offer her marriage to save her reputation....but there are secrets between them and what will happen when then come out?
Compromised and wedded on the same day, Lady Miranda was fast finding married life not to her taste. A decaying manor and a secretive husband were hardly the stuff of girlish dreams. Yet every time she looked at dark, brooding Marcus Radwell, Duke of Haughleigh, she felt inexplicably compelled -- and determined -- to make their marriage real! (From the back cover...)