Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Reluctant Marquess by Maggi Anderson


Summary

Charity Barlow wished to marry for love. The rakish Lord Robert wishes only to tuck her away in the country once an heir is produced.

A country-bred girl, Charity Barlow suddenly finds herself married to a marquess, an aloof stranger determined to keep his thoughts and feelings to himself. She and Lord Robert have been forced by circumstances to marry, and she feels sure she is not the woman he would have selected given a choice.

The Marquess of St. Malin makes it plain to her that their marriage is merely for the procreation of an heir, and once that is achieved, he intends to continue living the life he enjoyed before he met her.

While he takes up his life in London once more, Charity is left to wander the echoing corridors of St Malin House, when she isn’t thrown into the midst of the mocking Haute Ton.

Charity is not at all sure she likes her new social equals, as they live by their own rules, which seem rather shocking. She’s not at all sure she likes her new husband either, except for his striking appearance and the dark desire in his eyes when he looks at her, which sends her pulses racing.

Lord Robert is a rake and does not deserve her love, but neither does she wish to live alone.

Might he be suffering from a sad past? Seeking to uncover it, Charity attempts to heal the wound to his heart, only to make things worse between them.

Will he ever love her?

Review

In 18th century England, when Charity Barlow’s parents are killed in a carriage accident, she finds herself alone and suddenly under the guardianship of the Marquess of St Malin, her godfather. But when she arrives at his castle overlooking the sea, Robert, her godfather’s nephew advises her that the Marquess has died and he has now inherited the title. But her surprises do not end there. In the will, she and Robert are to marry in order for them to inherit the vast fortune. And so they marry, albeit reluctantly, setting the story for much tension. The heroine is strong, verbally uninhibited, and able to fight for herself against a husband who pays her little regard. The hero is arrogant, charming, has been hurt in the past, neglectful, and not sensitive to his new wife’s needs.

This light romance, although a touch predictable, unfolds at a good pace and is easy to read. It’s a great book to escape into, with a fun story line and a great heroine. Although the hero is a bit frustrating at times, I think it actually helps make the story better by creating more tension. We are able to see all his faults, watch as he redeems himself, and then we slowly come to accept him just as Charity finally does. The story unfolds in a London castle and the author did a terrific job of describing the details and opulence.