A dashing and feckless lord enters a marriage of convenience with the lovely and practical daughter of a wealthy merchant to salvage his family fortune, but they find themselves unprepared for scandal, rioting tenants, a menacing neighbor-and discovering a love that is neither convenient nor practical but entirely heartfelt and enduring. (via Goodreads)
I randomly came across this book on Goodreads, read the summary and was mildly intrigued. Then – I saw the cover, complete with a blurb from Lauren Willig. That was enough to make me immediately obtain and read it.
The social status of Penelope Brown, our heroine, is a difficult one. Her family became rich via her father’s brewery. This means they are allowed to travel in aristocratic circles, but it doesn’t mean they are accepted. I’ve read books with this particular prejudice before, Secrets of a Summer Night by Lisa Kleypas being the first that comes to mind. It adds an interesting layer of complication to the story, and one I appreciate.
Anyway, I loved Penny. She was a fantastic heroine…very smart and self-aware. When she receives an offer of marriage from Nev, she knows the reasons ($$) and she accepts them. They are both aware of why he is marrying her and I love the awareness of their relationship. It makes it easier for them to be honest and open with each other from the beginning. I loved seeing that – the way Nev knew that Penny (very cutesy nicknames, I know) would not only be able to help him try and rescue his family’s country estate…but that she would be a necessity.
The complications that arise with the estate’s tenants and neighbors are very captivating and kept the story constantly moving forward. They also added a very colorful and unique cast of secondary characters to the story. I love the roles they played and the way everyone interacted with each other.
Like I said before, the level of honesty between our MCs was very unique. I fell in love with both of them and loved watching as their relationship progressed. It is impossible not to root for both of them, so don’t even bother trying to take sides.
Definitely a worthy addition to the multitudes of historical romance out there, and this is an author I’ll be keeping track of!