STORY: Marriage to a Nobleman? Not in Her Wildest Dreams. . .
The daughter of a disgraced woman and a common actor, Madelyn Swann has been shunned by the nobility. No proper lady would traipse about on a Covent Garden stage, let alone sell herself at auction to the highest bidder. So why in heaven’s name would Nathan Atwood, Viscount Rowley, make a generous offer for her hand?
Turns out Maddy is exactly the type of woman Nathan wants as his wife. Finally, he can embarrass his snobbish and cruel father, the Earl of Gilmore—and scandalize London society—with his beautiful, unsuitable bride. Then he’ll depart England forever and leave his wife behind. Having secret plans of her own, Maddy is happy to play the role … only to find that enjoying her husband’s seduction requires no acting whatsoever. But as she falls madly in love with Nathan, can she persuade him to stay with her for always?
REVIEW: Nathan (Nate) Atwood has arrived at his godmother, Lady Milford’s home after a long absence. After many years living in China, Nate has returned to England after receiving a letter from Lady Milford notifying him that his estranged father was dying. Nate is the second son of the Earl of Gilmore. The Earl has always been a harsh man whom Nate found difficult to obey. But his older brother, and heir, had always behaved and did as his father said. Thus, Nate left England at the age of 21 to seek his own way and his own fortune. Now, he has achieved his goal. David, age 33, is the new Earl and their sister, Emily is 19 and poised to make her debut soon.
When Nate arrives back in England, he finds that his father has recovered from his illness, but his brother contracted the same disease and died. Nate is now Viscount Rowley and his father’s heir. In addition, Nate finds that his brother had been married and the father of two girls. As much as he wants to immediately return to China, he decides to stay and take revenge on his father. To that end, he plans to marry the lowest class woman he can find and leave her with his father as he returns to China. Although his godmother is aghast at his plan, she insists on helping him choose his bride.
Madelyn (Maddy) Swann, age 24, has been an actress all of her life, most of which has been spent in the Covent Garden theater. Now, she has decided to leave her acting life behind. Truthfully, Maddy is the granddaughter to the Duke of Houghton, and Alfred Langley, Lord Dunham, is her cousin and heir to the Duke of Houghton. Her mother has been disowned by her father, the Duke, when she married an actor. When Langley tries to accost her, Maddy is thankful that Lady Milford intervenes and rescues her. As Maddy plans to hold an auction offering herself as the prize, Lady Milford suggests she choose her godson, Viscount Rowley. Her original plan was to choose someone willing to compensate her with enough funds to start a new life without asking more from her. Her dream has always been to open a lady’s store that offers clothes, hats, and all things needed to dress a woman from head to toe.
Lady Milford gifts Maddy with a pair of beautiful red shoes which she loves and agrees to wear when she receives Nate’s bid. Nate offers to marry Maddy and make her Lady Rowley. He tells her that she must tolerate him for 3 months then he will leave England never to return. In addition, she will become Countess Gilmore upon the death of his father. He requests that she act as coarse as possible to irritate his father even more which will enact his revenge on the man. Maddy realizes that after a few months of playing this role, she will have enough money to open her dress shop, so she agrees.
The resulting interaction with Nate’s family is humorous and Maddy’s “revenge” on her grandfather is touching.
This is a delightful novel not to be missed. I enjoyed it very much and know others will as well. Very well-developed characters.
Complimentary copy provided by the publisher
Connie for b2b