Genre: historical romance
Cover: I like the color
THE MATCHMAKER'S WAGER
Lady Henrietta Thorndike hides her lonely heart behind playing cupid - some might accuse her of interfering, but she prefers to think of it as improving other people's lives! But Robert Montemorcy knows it has to stop - his ward has just fled from a compromising situation in London, and the last thing she needs is to be embroiled in Henri’s compulsive matchmaking! He bets Henri that she won’t be able to resist meddling… only to lose his own heart into the bargain!
Lady Henrietta Thorndike really enjoys helping people. She has completely organized the social life of the small village she is living in with her aunt, and is very smug about the wedding that has just taken place. After all, she saw that those two lonely people were right for each other, and contrived for them to have some time together, to get to know each other, even though they have been neighbours for many years. She has managed every tiny detail of the ceremony and celebrations, as no one else is qualified to do so.
Henri is 26 years old, but has been a widow for 10 years. She truly loved her late husband, and thinks their marriage was perfection, and has no intention of ever marrying again. Who can compete with her Edward? Also, her mother thought her that other peoples needs were always more important than her own, and so she keeps busy on behalf of her neighbours.
But Robert Montemorcy dislikes her meddling into other peoples lives intensely. He has been burned by women before, as has his father, so he has no intention of marrying himself. His young ward, the daughter of his best friend, is coming to live with him for a while, as she has almost been seduced by a fortune hunter. Who also happens to be Henri’s no-good cousin Sebastian. Robert knows that Henri wants to believe in the good in Sebastian, but he knows that there is nothing there. Sebastian is a gambler and a womanizer, and only interested in his Sophie for her fortune. Sebastian’s mother, Henri’s aunt, also can’t see her son as he truly is, and he won’t have Henri matchmaking for his ward.
And so Robert proposes a wager to Henri, something she cannot refuse at all. If she can cease her meddling ways for a month, he will let her aunt do some archaeological excavations on the land he bought from them (to pay for Sebastian’s debts). And he will dance with her at the ball next month … but if Henri fails, her forfeit will cost her and her reputation dearly.
But the next day, Henri, on her way to call on Robert’s ward and her stepmother, as a good neighbour should do to welcome them to the village, is attacked by a dog. Henri is terrified by dogs, so she just lies there until Robert comes to her rescue. She cannot possibly walk home as her ankle is severely bruised, and her leg needs tending. And so Henri ends up under Robert’s roof for the next few weeks. She can’t help but notice how attractive Robert is, and she grows to like Sophie a lot. She even wants to prevent a match between Sophie and Sebastian as she can see they are totally unfit as a couple. Robert even takes some of her advice to heart!
But what can become of two people determined never to marry (again), and Henri who doesn’t want to ruin her pristine reputation?
Well, this sure is a different and refreshing kind of historical romance. If you are bored by debutants and ton parties and intrigue, try one of Michelle Styles’ historical romances.
I have to admit, I did have some difficulties with Henri. She really switches her thinking and actions around very quickly. Being stubborn one moment, and giving in to Robert the next. Still, she is a good person, and her upbringing really did damage her inside, as in not caring for herself first even when necessary. She does see things clearly, and does give some good advice to Sophie on how to handle her cousin Sebastian. And I absolutely loved the fact that Sophie listened and brought the frying pan with her … and used it!
Robert comes across as strict and unbending, he wants things done logically and scientifically, he really does not believe in feminine instincts. He does want Henri in his bed, but he won’t seduce her when she says no, but he also doesn’t give up easily. And when he finally realises her wants to marry her, it is not easy to persuade her to say yes.
I have to admit to really disliking Sebastian, who is a real cad and totally amoral selfish person, who doesn’t care whom he hurts, as long as he gets what he wants and feels entitles too. After all, he is a Lord!
Michelle Styles has such a nice writing style, it flows nicely, and it has a subtle humor I appreciate. I do recommend her books, especially if you need to relax after some heavier books.
I received this signed book from the author for review. And while you are reading this, I am at the Love Letter Convention 2013 in Berlin, Germany, and chatting with Michelle Styles.
© 2013 Reviews by Aurian