Reviewed by: Linda Tonis
Member of the Paranormal Romance Review Team
2nd Place – 2016 PRG Reviewer’s Choice Awards – Historical Romance Novels & Novellas
1st Place – 2016 PRG Reviewer’s Choice Awards – Historical Romance Novels & Novellas – Series
It is 1804 in London and Melinda Starling is about to assist her friend in her elopement. She is shocked when her friend tells her that she has changed her mind and won’t be going to tell the groom. Melinda takes it upon herself to go to the groom-to-be and advise him that the woman he loves is no longer interested. This decision to tell the poor man what is going on would change her life in ways she could never have imagined.
When Melinda arrives at the meeting place, she is met by a man who mistakes her for the bride and throws her into the carriage. When they meet up with the groom, he immediately realizes the mistake. However, Melinda is laying on the floor of the carriage unconscious. Apparently something fell off the carriage and hit her on the head. Melinda wakes up to find herself being kissed by a strange man who is on his way to return her to her home. Upon arrival, her grandmother refuses to open the door. It is now early morning and Melinda is alone with a man everyone considers a rake, Miles Warren, Lord Garrison.
In this time, Melinda is now considered ruined. Few people will believe she is with Miles alone and did not lay with him, her reputation can only be saved by marrying Miles, something he offers to do. There are few options open to her, marry a man she hardly knows and doesn’t love, or live with her brother and be married off to anyone willing to take her. She goes with option one and marries Miles.
Both Melinda and Miles have secrets that they don’t want to share. Why does Melinda’s grandmother hate her? Why is everyone convinced Miles is a rake? Melinda and Miles take vows they are both determined to fulfill and they are ready to show the world that they are happy and in love. Is possible to play act loving each other without actually falling in love? Even married, many turn their backs on Melinda. even her friend whose mother refuses to allow them to associate with each other despite the fact that everything happened because of her.
This was a beautiful love story which takes place in a time when simply being in the same house with a man can have you condemned as a whore. Melinda and Miles are both wonderful characters and all I can say is I am glad that things have changed. Living in that era had to be impossibly hard on women. I loved this story and can’t wait for the next one.