Martha Russell has just been widowed, and has learned that she will have to give up her husband’s estate to her brother-in-law unless she gives birth to a male heir. Given that her husband is dead and she’s not pregnant, Martha has a big problem on her hands. Unwilling to let go of her servants and estate without a fight to a man with a dishonorable reputation, Martha is determined to get pregnant as soon as possible.
Theophilus Mirkwood has been banished to the country to learn responsibility. Theo has frustrated his father one too many times with his carefree life of wine, women, and careless disregard for money. So Theo is determined to do what he can to get back into his father’s good graces and back to London as soon as possible. It makes no sense for Theo to become involved with Martha’s scheme, but what is a man to do when a willing widow throws herself on his mercy?
In no way should this storyline work as a romance. After all, given the times, Martha had everything to lose if her deception were ever discovered. So why would she even embark on such a risky venture? On top of that, men of the time were not inclined to have illegitimate heirs running about the countryside, laying claim to a false inheritance. Finally, Martha takes no enjoyment from Theo’s attentions so how can the two possibly fall in love?
It is because of these problems that the romance does work. Theo is baffled at Martha’s lack of enjoyment and strives to find ways to get her interested in their intimacy. Martha is fascinated by the intricacies of estate management that Theo is learning and finds ways to help him along his path. All this effort to help the other out leads to conversations not typically found in historical romance. Theo and Martha have to take time to get to know each other, and therefore spend a lot of time trying to find what makes the other one tick.
If you want a historical romance that’s different, this is the one to try. Cecilia Grant is a talented writer who has created a book with wonderful characters, wonderful writing, and a story that you’ll continue to wonder about as you try to guess how she’ll bring it all together. Slowly you’ll find yourself falling for these two disparate souls, and learn some things about the harsh realities of country life during the Regency era that you may not have considered before.
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