STORY: After the tragic death of his wife, Jasper, the 8th Duke of Bainbridge buried himself away in the dark cold walls of his home, Castle Blackwood. When he’s coaxed out of his self-imposed exile to attend the amusements of the Frost Fair, his life is irrevocably changed by his fateful meeting with Lady Katherine Adamson.
With her tight brown ringlets and silly white-ruffled gowns, Lady Katherine Adamson has found her dance card empty for two Seasons. After her father’s passing, Katherine learned the unreliability of men, and is determined to depend on no one, except herself. Until she meets Jasper…
In a desperate bid to avoid a match arranged by her family, Katherine makes the Duke of Bainbridge a shocking proposition—one that he accepts.
Only, as Katherine begins to love Jasper, she finds the arrangement agreed upon is not enough. And Jasper is left to decide if protecting his heart is more important than fighting for Katherine’s love.
REVIEW: Winter 1814, London
Lady Katherine Adamson, age 19, has reluctantly agreed to accompany her twin sister, Anne, on another of her madcap schemes. Anne wants to visit the Frost Fair which is held on the frozen Thames River for people wanting to make purchases from different vendors for Christmas. Katherine has been petrified of water ever since she fell into the river when she was a child and nearly drowned. But Anne insists that they go to the Fair in search of a heart-shaped pendant with the promise that the wearer will then find the love of a Duke. This was the case for their older sister, Aldora who met and married Lord Michael Knightly brother to the very wealthy Marquess of St. James. Both girls are hoping to make a good marriage. Sadly, their father had squandered the family’s money before he died leaving the family with very little.
Jasper Waincourt, Eighth Duke of Bainbridge, age 27, is a miserable man. Three years ago, he lost the love of his life, his wife and their son, in childbirth. Since then, he has blamed himself and feels as though he murdered his wife. He hates the Christmas season and his reclusive living has helped to earn him the reputation of the Mad Duke. He usually stays at his home, Castle Blackwood, a medieval Norman Castle. As an only child growing up, he didn’t know affection as his parents never truly loved each other.
So, it is a special thing that Jasper’s friend, the Marquess of Guilford, has managed to get him to leave his Castle and venture to London. It was very fortuitous they were attending the Frost Fair at the same time Katherine and Anne were, because the ice cracked and the icy water dragged Katherine in. With great bravery, Jasper was able to pull her from the water and save her life. Wrapping her in his coat, he took her home. Katherine was very grateful but when trying to thank Jasper, she is totally taken aback by his cold attitude and non-solicitous manner. Both are aggravated at the other as he feels that she should have been chaperoned and she feels that he has no right to speak to her that way. Ah, but they do continue to run into one another around London and their encounters end up with them trading barbs. Actually, they are attracted to one another but don’t want to admit it to themselves.
Knowing that she needs to marry, Katherine takes it upon herself to propose to Jasper. Will he accept? If they are to marry, will their different personalities allow them to be happy?
There is so much more to this story of the heartbreaking sadness that Jasper has borne. Can it be overcome by the love of a good woman? This is one of those stories that you want to pick up and reread immediately. It’s that good. I found it sad, romantic and happy and sexy. When I read a really good book like this, I wish I could award it six stars.
Connie for b2b
Complimentary copy provided by the author