At Spinster House, a woman can enjoy the spoils of single life—or find the love of a lifetime…
It has been twenty years since Lord William Wattles laid eyes on Annabelle Frost. Still, he remembers everything—her ethereal beauty, her bookish intelligence, her surprisingly modern attitudes about love…and lust. But Belle’s allegedly wanton behavior led her father to send her away to save the family’s reputation. Now she resides at Spinster House in the village of Loves Bridge, where an unmarried lady can live—and in Belle’s case, support herself as a librarian—in peace…
Beautiful, passionate Belle—sworn off marriage? William can’t believe the woman he once knew could end up like this. But when the hands of fate bring him to Loves Bridge, his long-lost love might just end up back in his arms. Is their unwavering desire worth the sweeping scandal that is sure to follow them both? Absolutely.
Source: ARC from Zebra (Kensington Books) via NetGalley
This quick historical read wasn’t as enjoyable as I’d hoped for two big reasons: Belle and William. Belle is a spinster who lives in Spinster House in the village of Loves Bridge, where she not only gets to live in the house rent free but also receives a stipend. She’s lived there for twenty years, ever since her vicious father threw her out for becoming pregnant. Fine, okay, that’s all very well, I get that she has a quiet life and has found a place for herself in the village. So why does she risk it all the moment William reappears in her life?
This is the man who made her pregnant the first time – and no, she wasn’t entirely blameless, but he never came looking for her and regardless of all that, he was instrumental in utterly changing her life. Now here he is again, and she’s happy to throw everything over in order to have him back in her bed. Really? Really? And that’s without the naive assumptions that she’s too old to get pregnant so it’ll be fine.
Oh, and did I mention that William is married? Because he is. It doesn’t matter that his wife is scandalous and excels at making him a laughingstock, William is married and both he and Belle know this, yet that doesn’t stop all the lust zinging about. Thankfully Belle has a moment of sense – it doesn’t last, but at least there is one moment when she’s not being foolish beyond permission – and it simply reveals what I’d long suspected.
William is selfish. He really is. Even when he knows something must have happened to Belle twenty years ago, he never once thinks he might have had something to do with it. Nope, it’s another man who treated her badly. Then when he sees her again he wants her – he doesn’t once think about how damaging her reputation might endanger her home and income. When we find out the details of his marriage that doesn’t place him in the best light either.
However, as is to be expected with this set up, events conveniently conspire to place the two of them together, where they continue in foolish and selfish style until even more convenient things happen and lead to a happy ever after. But don’t go looking for love in this story, because really it’s just down to lust. Neither of them even think about love until right at the end – they’re too busy having sex and ignoring any possible consequences.
In all this is a quick read with a couple of characters I couldn’t really care for. I did like the fact that both were older – look, a spinster who’s not in her twenties! – and stray cat Poppy was a cute distraction. I’m not sure that this novella would convince me to read more – the excerpt at the end, however, definitely intrigued me enough to look out for book 1!
In the Spinster’s Bed is out June 30th!
Visit Sally MacKenzie for more details.