Michèle Ann Young
Sourcebooks, 2007 (2007)
Reviewed by Martina Bexte
arolyn Torrington has always considered herself the dowdiest in comparison to her three younger sisters, and certainly no match for the slim, sophisticated beauties competing for male attention. That she's also plump and wears spectacles is further assurance that marriage will never be part of her future. When Caro's childhood friend, Lord Lucas Foxhaven, proposes a marriage of convenience, she thinks the idea absurd and repeatedly rebukes his offers. But Lucas is not a man who gives up easily, and eventually they strike a mutually satisfactory bargain.
ucas, however, leaves out certain details surrounding their arrangement and knows that if Caro should ever learn the ugly truth she would demand an immediate annulment. Despite his secrets, Lucas is determined to make their union work. Yet every time they're alone together and he has a chance to begin romancing the woman he's always loved, his guilt overpowers the moment. Carolyn mistakes his reaction as repulsion to her body and works even harder to establish a separate life from a husband whose nearness has her behaving in strange and unfamiliar ways. But when her actions and new friendships bring scandal and then danger into their lives, it's up to Lucas to rescue the woman he's come to realize he cannot live without.
ichèle Ann Young admits that she's always loved history - and in particular the Regency era - and she is in her element here as she brings the time period to sumptuous life, whether describing Carolyn's sedate country existence or her glittering London debut. Her shaky relationship with Lucas, as well as her own insecurities about her body image and her suitability as an upper crust wife, are well done. Ultimately, though, the couple suffers through one too many misunderstandings, which makes the conclusion, and their happy ending, a bit less convincing than it should have been. Even so,
is an appealing and beautifully written story that Regency romance fans will embrace.
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