STORY: Lord Fenton is a gambler, a dandy, and a flirt—and he must marry or else he will be disinherited, stripped of his wealth and his position. He chooses Alice Stanbridge for two simple reasons: he once knew her as a young girl, and she is the least objectionable option available to him.
However, Alice has harbored feelings for Fenton since their first meeting ten years ago, and she believes his proposal is real. When she discovers it is not, she is embarrassed and hurt. However, a match with the most-eligible bachelor in London would secure not only her future but that of her family as well.
Determined to protect herself from making a fool of herself a second time, Alice matches Lord Fenton wit for wit and insult for insult as they move toward a marriage of convenience that is anything but a happy union. Only when faced with family secrets that have shaped Fenton’s life does he let down his guard enough to find room in his heart for Alice. But can Alice risk her heart a second time?
REVIEW: Lord Charles Fenton is the son of Lord and Lady Chariton. Charles’s father has always been a mean man and unfaithful to his wife excusing his behavior by saying that is just what men do. Thus, their marriage is a very cool one. In retaliation toward his father for his coldness toward him and his mother, Charles has enjoyed living the easy life of gambling, heavy drinking, dressing in foppish clothes, and generally acting the fool.
Charles has been friends for many years with the Stanbridge family, going to school with their son and being friends with their daughter, Alice, since she was quite small. Alice enjoys drawing and gardening. Alice has adored Charles and when he promises her as a small child that one day he will marry her and in the meantime, he will arrange for her to have her own garden, she is thrilled and promptly falls in love with him. But when she learns later that he did not mean his proposal, her heart is broken and she hates him.
For many years after, Charles and Alice continue to dislike one another and can hardly be civil to each other when they happen to meet. So, when Charles’s father demands that he marry and cease his gambling and foppish lifestyle, Charles and Alice are horrified to learn that a marriage of convenience has been arranged between them. It appears that her family needs money and Charles needs a good woman for a wife.
The marriage starts off fairly well but they both decide to reside apart. Charles’s mother and Alice are great friends and live in the same house. Lady Chariton has a bad cough and is quite frail. Alice does all she can to try to use her knowledge of herbs to help the cough and to tempt her appetite. As her health continues to fail, Alice and Charles come together to do what they can to make his mother comfortable. In doing so, they begin to learn more about one another that allows them to put aside their past differences and see the possibilities of a good marriage for them.
This book was written beautifully. The author developed the characters so perfectly and it was fun to watch them grow and mature.
Connie for b2b
Complementary ARC provided by the publisher