A white marriage is no match for dark desires.
Sir Percival Hanbury is prepared to pay almost any price to regain his family’s ancestral seat. Yet the demand of its current owner, the Earl of Stanville, sets his teeth on edge.
Wycombe Oaks can be his—if he agrees to marry the earl’s disgraced daughter. With memories of his first marriage still tormenting him, Percy never intended to marry again. But if he refuses, the castle will be razed.
Lady Letitia’s beauty and fortune proved no match for scandal, costing her a fiancé and her reputation. The last thing she wants is to instead marry a boorish country squire, but the alternative is even worse.
In spite of himself, Percy finds his resistance melting in the face of Letitia, an accomplished artist who takes deep interest in his family pile. Until all that’s left is sizzling desire. And while the broad-shouldered, handsome baronet far exceeds Letitia’s grim expectations, he’s a harder challenge than his half-ruined castle.
But to trust a woman again, Percy must face dark secrets from the past…and learn to trust himself, as well.
Warning: Contains English country gossip, vengeful plots, a brooding, tormented baronet, and a feisty lady who refuses to let anything break her spirit.
Source: ARC from Samhain Publishing via NetGalley
This story of a true marriage of convenience – she’s been ruined by malicious gossip, he wants his ancestral home back – is a wonderful tale of honor, duty, broken loyalties and past troubles that won’t let go. Much though I love a good falling-in-love tale, I equally enjoy stories about living with marriage and this book handles both very well.
I liked Lettie. Her upbringing hasn’t been brilliant and her father is awful, she hasn’t been given any choice in her marriage, but once she gets over her initial panics she’s determined to make the most of it. Her opinion of men is understandably poor, and though I was at first annoyed with her judgemental attitude towards Percy, it is understandable and he doesn’t do much to persuade her otherwise. I liked Percy too, in his quietly tormented fashion. They’re both good, passionate people who life has done it’s best to crush.
Their marriage doesn’t begin in the best of ways, but I liked the slow and steady way that they get to know each other (and it is very slow) and how even the best efforts of determined gossips don’t undermine what they gradually find. Lettie is refreshingly sensible for the most part, and I liked how she slowly makes a space for herself in Percy’s life without either one of them having to change much.
Away from the romance, the interwoven plots of rebuilding Wycombe Oaks, past problems, current neighbours and married life mean there is always something going on. Some aspects of it were a bit predictable, while others fizzled out as the story progressed, but on the whole it was interesting and enjoyable and kept me eagerly turning pages.
Overall this is an enjoyable Regency romance, with mostly restrained manners and deep passions. If you like a marriage of convenience tale, you should definitely like this. I very much look forward to what this author comes up with next.
Debt of Honor is Out Now!
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