According to the terms of his grandfather's will, Alec MacLean has to marry "the daughter of the Earl of Fant" to inherit a much needed fortune. He arranges to elope with the miss in question, but she double crosses him and doesn't show up. Her cousin, Julia, the ubiquitous companion, does - she thinks it's a hackney and gets in.
Alec is of course furious, but what can he do? Julia gets tipsy and suggests a solution...
An enjoyable story, all in all. I'm a bit tired of the "I won't sleep with you even though we're married and we can't get a divorce in this day and age and you probably want children" etc story, but I realise that authors DO have to provide a way to delay the sex scenes till the middle of the book. :)
I didn't expect to like this book as much as I did - I expected a regular, run of the mill regency, a pleasant, quick read.
This book was more about the two leads working together to solve a mystery (in order to get engaged) then it was about them falling in love - they were in love with each other almost from the start. And that was the only negative about it - the one day the groom is drinking himself into oblivion because his betrothed-to-be is about to arrive, the next he's in love with her.
Otherwise, it was a really good book.
Hero marries heroine who is treated like dirt by her family. A secret from his path shows while he is away and threatens their marriage (he has a reputation as a cad - who does she trust - the very present secret or her very absent husband?).
Charlotte Parnell spent the last 5 years working as an unofficial agent of the crown alongside her brother, an official one. Now however they have returned home to England and her brother wants her to become a proper English lady and leave all the danger and impropriety (according to him) and thrill and exitement (according to her) to him.
Charlotte has no intention of settling for a boring married life. She intends to finish the mission her brother is working on, by herself, and claim recognition as an agent in her own right.
During one of her escapades, she is inadvertantly engaged to Alistair, Viscount Moncreiffe. Both Alistair and Charlotte see the engagement as a temporary blessing. Charlotte wants freedom to pursue her dream, and Alistair wants freedom from marriage traps. Alistair winds up being very helpful to Charlotte and her mission, but regardless of the intimacy growing between them, she refuses to see him as an equal partner.
I liked both the hero and heroine. Alistair is patient, but not a doormat, and Charlotte realises her mistakes and learns from them.
This book is basically a rewrite of My Dear Duchess (Marion Chesney, 1987). The plot similarities are simply too much.
I realise that in genre set in a particular culture in a particular time, there are only so many possible plot devices around. But this was too much.
Essential wife - marquess marries dressmaker - marriage of convenience, they barely know each other. He doesn't want to marry the "suitable" girl.
Dear Duchess - duke marries companion - marriage of convenience. He was (is?) in love with her employer, who dumped him.
Essential wife - heir tries to prevent marriage from succeeding in order to prevent a son from being born.
Dear duchess - heir tries to prevent marriage from succeeding in order to prevent son from being born.
I mean, really? Yes, I can understand wanting to murder someone to get the inheritance, but to ruin their marriage to prevent progeny? Puhlease.
How do they go about it?
In each case, "other lady" works with heir. They make hero believe wife is messing around.
OK, by this point the books were really similar, but, I thought, surely the ending will be different....
In both books:
Wife get lured to gambling house / brothel - letter saying "your husband will be there bla bla bla". She arrives.
Husband gets told by scheming hussy that wife is in brothel. He arrives.
He is mad. Letter disappears, she has no proof.
He sends her to the country, starts thinking of divorce.
Madam picks up letter and takes it to husband, getting paid of course, he realises he was wrong, rushes off to country etc.
Only the last few pages, what happens in the country, are different, and even then not that much.
In both, wife has to fend for herself.
Someone gets locked in ice house in both.
So, all in all, I could not enjoy this book. Perhaps I would have enjoyed it more had I not read Dear Duchess first. Of course, DD ticked me off anyway, cause after he treats her like dirt she just falls into his arms. At least in this book he rescues her at the end.
His Lordship's Mistress
Jess needs money to save her estate and her family. She has nothing left to sell, except the obvious... Blessed with a great voice, she lies to her family about an inheritance, goes off to London to become an actress and become a mistress, until she can pay off her debts.
Ordinarily I don't like protector marries mistress books, because there are a lot of issues there that I cannot believe can comfortably be addressed in a romance novel. This book, though, I really enjoyed. Probably because Jess isn't a serial mistress, and she behaves like the wellborn lady she is. It makes it believable that a marriage between them will be acceptable.
Married by mistake
Thomas signs in the wrong place and becomes a husband to Florrie instead of a proxy for his younger brother. Florrie and Thomas don't like each other, she thinks he's a worthless wastrell and he thinks she's an annoying shrew.
Both are packed off to the country (separately, they think) until the marriage can be annulled and the scandal dies down.
Forced to spend time together in the middle of nowhere, they get to know each other better and the inevitable happens. It is a romance novel, after all! But it was a lot of fun getting there :)
Ashley and Shandal marry. He tells her before the time that he is not interested in a love match and intends to keep his mistress. She marries him because... well, it's a good match and she thinks it will be enough. He marries her because she is beautiful and spirited and will make a good wife.
They spend their honeymoon getting to know each other and things go really well - until Shandal's mistress makes a surprise visit.
Ashley is perhaps a bit forgiving, but not the worst I've seen.
Great, great book. It manages to show the characters growing up in the space of 200 odd pages.
Girl escapes from church where evil uncle is bribing vicar to marry her to his more evil but stupider son. Boy is drunk after fight with father (in which he vows to marry first girl he sees). Girl begs boy for help, he, being half drunk, civalrous and mad at his father, marries her.
Both character have issues coming from their parents. Both characters manage to admit their issues eventually (they each help the other) and fall in love and live happily ever after.
Hero is to be married to Heroine, but misses the wedding because he left London late. She thinks she is jilted and runs away to London to have fun. He finds her there and is surprised that she doesn't just want to marry him. He resolves to convince her to marry him.
So far so good. Heroine is spitting mad - good. Hero realises he was an idiot - good. Hero tries to make Heroine's every dream come true - good. Heroine still refuses to marry Hero - bad.
The character of the hero develops as he realises that he took her for granted and falls in love with her. He tries to make amends.
She, on the other hand, never sees things from his point of view. It's all "oh woe is me I don't want to be married for my money", "oh I want my freedom" etc etc. Shes doesn't stop to consider that maybe he doesn't want to be married only for his title, that he could have told her to go jump ages ago (in fact his friend advised him to find another bride), that he could have forced her hand by telling her father where she is etc. I don't think she was supposed to be a selfish cow, she's nice and polite and witty etc, not shrewish at all, but she certainly comes across that way.
I found with CC it's either a nice hit, or a TOTAL miss. This one was a spectacular miss.
Let's see. Heroine compromised, hero marries her. The "hero" sleeps with his mistress on his wedding night, and continues the relationship with said mistress. "Heroine" kicks him in groin - and then runs away. When he comes after her, she apologises for kicking him in the groin - "Oh I know my behviour was reprehensible etc etc". Sheesh. I don't know who I wanted to clobber more. Needless to say, with neither one of the two main characters showing any personality whatsoever, I did not enjoy this book.
Hero has a terrible reputation but is really a very nice guy. He compromises heroine and does the right thing by marrying her. Heroine of course sees right through nasty reputation and manages to set things right and in the process of course heals all the scars on our hero's heart.
I love this story. I love the hero, I love the heroine, I love their interaction.
I won't cover the story, it has been well done by other reviewers. I was undecided about ordering this book, I read some reviews on Amazon that were less than complimentary. So when I ordered it, it was without high expectations. I loved it! Loved it loved it loved it. The hero and heroine worked together, not against each other, I am getting tired of having open warfare disguised as romance. They were likable, sensible characters. They had issues, but with their past, not with each other. This will go on my keeper shelf.
From the back:
Miss Josephine Shy is blessed with an exquisite soprano voice that no one outside her family circle will ever hear. As the daughter of a thoroughly respectable vicar, she cannot appear on stage. But when her rapscallion brother bankrolls a new musical theatre production and the famous star loses her voice, Josephine agrees to sing the part - behind a screen, of course. Soon all of London is humming the score of "The Shepherdess" - and its flock of live sheep are the sensation of the season! All the more reason for the music-loving Lord Daniel York to attend every performance. He is enthralled by the star's exquisite voice, if not her appearance. But when a wayward lamb knocks over the screen and Josephine is revealed at last in all her blushing glory, Lord York falls head over heels in love...
Why did I post the back cover? Good question, because it totally misrepresents what happens in the book:
Yes, Josephine has a beautiful voice. But everything from the third line onwards happens in the last three pages of the book, if at all!
Daniel invests in the production, and hangs around the theater during preparation. The book ends on opening night, so how, I ask you, can he attend every performance?
Daniel and Josephine knew each other when they were younger, and each sort of remembered the other with beating heart. They spend time together, fall in love and get married. And THEN opening night happens. At the END OF THE BOOK.
This was a really nice story, I liked the romance between the characters, it was really sweet and believable. No great emotional upheavals, no great villains, really, a nice romance.
But I have to wonder, did the person who wrote the blurb actually read the book? Did the editor and writer actually read the blurb before it was published?
Not her best historical, but a good read nonetheless.
The female lead is sweet but she didn't have much personality. Male lead has more depth but not much. Simply a "boy meets girl, boy insults girl, boy marries girl, boy and girl overcomes danger" story.
I enjoyed this book, although there were some issues for me.
In the first place, Heroine is one of CC's "doormat women". Sheesh. At least the hero is a decent sort.
And then of course the story was just a bit too farfetched - CC can be really silly sometimes.
All in all though, I anjoyed reading it - it's quick, it's fluff, it's fun.