After a painful heartbreak, Rupert, the handsome young Earl of Stanstead, has decided that when it comes to love, avoidance is best. Until he meets a woman who makes him forget his plan—and remember his longing for a wife and family. Yet he senses that she too has been hurt, though she attempts to hide her feelings—and more—in the most baffling and alluring way. Intrigued, Rupert is willing to play along, if winning her is the prize…
Crushed by her late husband’s scorn, Vivian, Countess of Beresford, believes she is monstrously undesirable. Sadly childless, she has moved to London resigned to a solitary life. Still, when she encounters Rupert at a masquerade ball, her disguise as Cleopatra emboldens her. Convinced he doesn’t recognize her, she begins an after-hours affair with him, always in costume—while allowing him to innocently court the real her by day. But when Rupert makes a shocking choice, will Vivian be able to handle the truth?…
REVIEW: Beresford Abbey, England 1817
Vivian, the widowed Countess of Beresford, is nearly out of mourning and eager to leave the Abbey. Her deceased husband had a mistress whom he loved and never cared for Vivian. Their marriage had been arranged by their fathers.
Silvia Corbet is Vivian’s companion and the daughter of the vicar. Silvia has known the Beresford family for many years and grew up with the new Lord Beresford. Actually, the man proposed marriage to Vivian thinking it would be as easy match for them both. Shocked, she declined. At one time, Silvia had a crush on the man but not has only disdain for him. Silvia’s cousin, Clara, the Dowager Marchioness of Telford, suggests that Silvia and Vivian head to town for the Little Season. Clara wanted to provide Silvia with a season.
Rupert, the Earl of Stanstead, is looking for a wife. Although he is younger than most men seeking marriage, he has seen the happiness of his married cousin, Robert and his wife, Serena, and wants the same for himself.
Rupert meets Vivian at a ball and is quite smitten by her and she by him. They become good friends sharing in political discussion groups and working toward helping the less fortunate.
Vivian is shy about getting married again. She had been verbally abused about her body by her late husband. She is a true innocent about love in the bedroom. So, as their relationship heats up and they are ready to consummate their love, Rupert soon becomes not only her lover but her teacher as well.
This was a good story. For me, I found the “masquerade part” to be a bit far-fetched. In addition, the excessive number of characters often made the flow of the story to be somewhat confusing. However, I have enjoyed the author’s books in the past and look forward to more from her.
Connie for b2b
Complimentary copy provided by the publisher