Genre: historical romance
Two Sisters. . .
Julia Herington is overjoyed when her stepsister, Louisa, becomes engaged--to a viscount, no less. Louisa's only hesitation is living a life under the ton's critical gaze. But with his wry wit and unconventional ideas, Julia feels James is perfect for Louisa. She can only hope to find a man like him for herself. Exactly like him, in fact. . .
One Choice. . .
As the new Viscount Matheson, James wished to marry quickly and secure his title. Kind, intelligent Louisa seemed a suitable bride. . .until he met her stepsister. Julia is impetuous--and irresistible. Pledged to one sister, yet captivated by another, what is he to do? As Christmas and the whirl of the London season approach, James may be caught in a most scandalous conundrum, one that only true love, a bit of spiritous punch--and a twist of fate--will solve. . .
As I have read the second book before this one and knew the big lines of what would happen, I was not so sure I was going to like it. But I am very pleased to tell you, I did love this book.
Louisa Oliver was very miserable during her Season in London, and when James, Viscount Matheson, proposed to her, she was very happy to accept his suit. But ever since accepting his proposal, she has been having doubts, and wants to postpone the wedding. Is she really doing this? As his wife, she would have to go London for the Season every year, and even entertain guests and host balls and such. But he sure is a catch for a little nobody from the country, and her family is happy for her. James is everything a woman could want in a husband; he is handsome, rich, titled, and always kind and courteous to her. But she just is not in love with him. Only with his library. Is that enough to base a lifetime of commitment on?
James really like Louisa, she was the proper kind of wife for a Viscount, and would surely manage his household as it should be. But then he meets Louisa’s stepsister, and his world comes upside down. She makes him smile with her freshness, her impetuousness, and soon he starts feeling and thinking things he really should not be feeling for his sister-in-law-to-be.
He has always thought himself an honourable man, and he really cares for Louisa. He will have to get over those feelings, and set a date with Louisa. Only she seems so reluctant.
His mother really thinks he could have done much better in his choice of wife, and she gives Louisa and Julia the cold shoulder. And his widowed sister is not much better, but living with his mother would make everyone cold and distant. Only her little daughters make her smile and happy and loving, and Julia is instantly taken to the little girls. She does miss her own little brother and sisters dreadfully.
When they ask James to help them find the perfect husband for Julia, he really doesn’t want to do that. He can’t stand the thought of another man touching her, kissing her, undressing her! But he is engaged to Louisa, he has no right to think like that, feeling jealous. Julia is in love with James as well, and she feels horrible betraying her beloved sister like that. But can she marry one of her other suitors while being so much in love with James?
Julia and James fall in love with each other, both knowing nothing can come of it. James won’t dishonour his name or Louisa and Julia will never hurt her sister like that. And so they keep acting like friends, future family, pretending. The only one capable of solving this problem is Louisa, but everything she might do would tarr her own reputation beyond repair. Louisa has no idea that her fiancé and her sister are in love, she is just feeling miserable being in London again, shopping for her trousseau and Julia’s first Season. But she will do anything to make her sister happy, helping her find a suitable husband herself.
I really liked this book, neither person does anything inappropriate, there is no sense of betrayal, Julia and James just fall in love. And the engagement between Louisa and James was always more a business transaction, no sense of love involved at all. Sure, they like each other, and care for the other, but they are totally not passionate about each other. They don’t even kiss! Such a difference between James’ feelings for the sisters, but he does not act on it at all. And I did admire him for that.
My impression of Louisa is, that she is afraid to live, to leave her parents’ house. To start a life and a family of her own. But perhaps that is because James is not the man for her.
Yes, of course it is all resolved in the end, but I am not going to spoil that for you. Three great main characters in this book, and I enjoyed their chaperone and aunt Lady Irving as a colourful secondary character a lot. I am looking forward to the third book in the fall of this year. With only two books, Theresa Romain has planted herself squarely on my auto-buy author list. I have the third one pre-ordered.
© 2012 Reviews by Aurian
Full review on my blog, www.boeklogboek.blogspot.com