Genre: historical romance
Cover: naughty smile
Jane Tindall has never had money of her own or exceptional beauty. Her gifts are more subtle: a mind like an abacus, a talent for play-acting – and a daring taste for gambling. But all the daring in the world can’t help with the cards fixed against her. And when Edmund Ware, Baron Kirkpatrick, unwittingly spoils her chance to win a fortune, her reputation is ruined too. Or so she thinks, until he suggests a surprising mode of escape: a hasty marriage. To him. On the surface, their wedding would satisfy all the demands of proper society, but as the Yuletide approaches, secrets and scandals turn this proper marriage into a very improper affair.
I have dual feelings about this book. I did like Jane’s character, she was very different and refreshing from the usual historical romance heroines. She tried to gamble (poker!) with money she did not had, to earn her indepence. But she was playing against a cheat, and so she lost. Big time. At the same time, Edmund Ware spoiled her disguise, exposing her true identity to her opponents. He then offers to pay off her gambling debts, not knowing it is 10.000 pounds. The exact sum of the dowry her cousin Lord Xavier has promised her. And so a marriage of convenience is made.
Edmund needs to marry soon, as he is afraid an old scandal will come to light, destroying him and his family, and he wants an heir before that happens. And Jane has secretly been in love with Edmund since she was a toddler, and so she agrees. But Edmund doesn’t want her love, all he wants is to make her happy and give her gifts she doesn’t need or want.
What he doesn’t realize either, is that Jane is a pour cousin and has always lived in the country. She never learned how to ride a horse, or dance, or etiquette. She has no idea how to be a Baroness. But she is very smart, and she learns manners by copying them from another Baroness she makes him point out.
Edmund is really suffering from the old scandal, and has been separated from his family ever since. Punishing himself. And really, I thought him such a stupid man, and totally not hero material as I like them. He goes out of his way to be nice to everyone, every single wallflower at a ball, and random people in the street. So when Jane can’t take her marriage anymore, as she wants more than Edmund can give her, more of his time, of himself, she is immediately being ostracised. How could she leave that nice Lord Ware.
The ending did make up for me disliking Edmund though, when Edmund finally shared his secret with Jane, to get her back, and how they decided how to deal with it. I enjoyed that very much.
If you like historical romances, but want something different from rakes and rogues and ballrooms now and then, try a Theresa Romain book. She always surprises me with her storylines, and her characters. She is firmly on my autobuy list.
© 2014 Reviews by Aurian