By Amanda Grange
Robert Hale - March 2002
ISBN 0709069995 - HB
1813 London & Yorkshire, England
Madeline Delaware is terrified of the idea of marriage, for her mother told her that as soon as her husband has his hands on her dowry, all she has to look forward to is a life of misery and abuse. Living with her cruel uncle after her parents' death does nothing to dispel the idea. When she bumps into Lord Pemberton, she is on the run from an impending marriage with a villain and is dressed like a tart. Still, desperate or not, at first she is reluctant to agree to being married to Philip, even if it is for only six months in order that he can inherit a fortune and marry the cold but beautiful Miss Letitia Bligh. After all, is it not still a marriage of sorts? Even after agreeing and leaving for her "husband's" home in Yorkshire, things keep happening to them. Is it possible that somebody is trying to kill them both, and if so, then why?
The added dimension of Philip's involvement with espionage gives a frisson of adventure to this most engaging Regency. It makes the reader realize how powerless women were in those days, even if Regency readers do occasionally yearn for the days of muslins and cravats, and strikes a thought-provoking note into this enjoyable story. However, as I often do, I wish a little more detailed descriptions were worked in to the story as I want to really see the locations though the characters' eyes, although this novel is better than some in this respect. Endearing characters and an intriguing plotline lift this tale, although there could have been a little more conflict at times.
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