Book Review

‘Countess by Coincidence’ by Cheryl Bolen

cbc cbSTORY: To extricate himself from financial difficulties, John Beauclerc, the Earl of Finchley, concocts a scheme to marry a stranger who’s answered his advertisement. He’ll show his grandmother! That lady’s withholding money until he can demonstrate more maturity and less scandalous behavior. At six and twenty, the last thing he wants is to settle down. He goes to the church at St. George’s Hanover Square to wed Miss Margaret Ponsby of Windsor, send her on her way with £100, and continue to pursue wine, women and faro with his fun-seeking friends.

After the ceremony, he realizes he’s married the wrong woman. Miss Margaret Ponsby of Windsor obviously thought the wedding was to occur at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor. Lady Margaret Ponsby was at St. George’s in London. How can he extricate himself from this wretched marriage—a marriage over which his grandmother is ecstatic?

If only Lady Margaret Ponsby weren’t so shy. When the lanky young (though most disreputable) earl she’s worshipped from afar for as long as she could remember asks her to move to the church’s altar with him, she’s powerless to decline. Even after a wedding ceremony begins, she still remains mute. She must be standing in for Lord Finchley’s true bride. But once she realizes she really is married to Lord Finchley, she determines to do everything in her power to make this a dream marriage. Even if it means imitating her clever, talkative sister.

REVIEW: John Edward Beauclerc, the 11th Earl of Finchley, promised his grandmere, the Dowager Finchley, to curtail his gambling but has failed yet again.  His parents are deceased and his grandmere is his only close relative.  In need of money, he goes to her but she refuses him.  She reminds him that he has honor which was lacking in his father and grandfather.

Lady Margaret Ponsby has grown weary of the husband hunting ritual.  She and her sister, Caro and Clair, each have a dowry of 30,000 pounds. Their sister-in-law, Elizabeth, Duchess of Aldridge, established a home for the destitute widows and children of officers killed in the war on the Peninsula. The sisters are all active helping at the home.

Margaret lives nearby the Dowager Finchley and has always had a crush on John Finchley.  So, when John places an ad in the paper offering 100 pounds to a woman to marry him and then go away, Margaret steps in to do so.  John truly doesn’t want to be married but thinks this will convince his grandmother that he is a responsible man and she will relent and and fund him.  But Margaret decides she wants a real marriage and moves in with him to at least attempt to portray that they have a normal marriage.  Not all of her family is convinced that John will be a good husband.  Margaret’s brother thinks he just wants her dowry.  Margaret’s patience, quiet and giving personality awakens John’s interest in her.

Will they be able to find a common ground that will open them up to a true love?

Once again, the author has written a story of the awakening of love and how it sometimes needs time to blossom.

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Complimentary copy provided by the author


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