STORY: Finishing school taught Amelia Wheeler how to put on a well-mannered performance—when she’s not bored and looking for trouble. Lady Grantham’s is behind her and now it’s time for Amelia to keep her promise to her dying mother: marry a title and leave her wild days behind.
That promise would be much easier to keep if Nate Smythe hadn’t just reappeared in a London ballroom. The son of an impoverished sailor, Nate—Natty, as he used to be called—has grown up to become handsome, rich and polished. He claims to be looking for a proper bride who can advance his business interests, but that doesn’t stop him from seeking out Amelia every chance he gets. Challenging her. Kissing her.
Suddenly, struggling against her simmering passion is the least of Amelia’s problems—one of her titled suitors is hiding a desperate secret that could stop Amelia from pleasing her parents or finding happiness with Nate. As a weeklong house party threatens to derail her hard-won future, Amelia must decide: fight against disaster or act like the lady she’s promised to become?
REVIEW: Portsmouth England – 1885
Amelia Wheeler, age 10, loves to venture out from her home to meet up with her friend, Natty Smythe, and play around the waterfront. Amelia is the daughter of a wealthy merchant and Natty is the son of a sailor. But when he tells her that he is going to sea to make money to care for his parents and siblings, she is sad to see him go.
London – June 1896
Amelia is attending her third season in London and trying hard to show an interest in it. Her friend, Sir Percy Cholmondelay, is boring her to tears with his prattle. Her father, Josiah Wheeler, is anxious to see her married to a man with a title. So, Amelia is thrilled when Nathaniel (Nate) Smythe shows up at the ball that Amelia is attending. They are delighted to meet again. Nate has amassed a fortune during his time away, but society sees him as a man who has actually worked to earn his money. Now, he is the owner of Smythe Shipping. Even though Amelia’s father is a self-made man, he snubs Nate who in turn politely steps away from Amelia which hurts her.
Nate’s plan is to meet and woo Julia Harrow, the daughter of the Earl of Hyde and owner of Royal Eastern Enterprises, a large shipping concern. He is hoping to enter into a partnership with the Earl and what better way than to wed his daughter.
Amelia’s mother has been an invalid for years with a weak heart. The daughter of a Viscount, her family disowned her when she fell in love with and married Josiah Wheeler, a man without a title. Now, she is pressuring Amelia to marry a man with a title so she can see her settled before she dies. Her mother’s sister lives in London but has never met Amelia and refuses to have anything to do with their family.
Amelia is invited to attend a house party at the home of the Earl of Tewsbury. She agrees knowing that Lord Radwill will also be attending. He is a nice, but dull man whom her father wishes her to marry. The snobbishness of some of the titled young ladies attending make for some harsh words, but Amelia is a tough young woman. When Nate shows up at the party as well, things get interesting.
Will Amelia be able to land a titled man to please her parents even though her heart belongs to Nate? Will Nate continue to pursue Lady Julia to increase his own business?
This was a delightful novel that I enjoyed very much. Both Amelia and Nate are strong characters and the story is beautifully written.
Complimentary copy provided by the publisher
Connie for b2b