*I am voluntarily leaving a review for an eARC provided to me by Netgalley and the publisher*
I am LOVING this series! This story in particular is the perfect combination of fun and romance, but it doesn’t slide into silliness (OK, maybe a little silliness – but it is well done) it is emotional and touches on some serious issues, but it doesn’t lose it’s lighthearted air.
Lady Sarah Marchmain aka Sadie has been sent to Puddling-on-the-Wold to come to her senses and agree to marry the man her father the duke has chosen for her. Sadie is a lonely woman, she is resentful that her father is using her for his own gain and has basically ignored her for her whole life and now that he can sell her to the highest bidder, is finally paying attention to her. Sadie has decided that love is a myth and all men are pigs. She is due to inherit a sizable fortune on her 25th birthday or her marriage, whichever comes first and Sadie is determined to stay single. She acts like a hoyden and has been successful in remaining unwed. But now her father has borrowed money from her current suitor and is demanding that Sadie marry him or he will have her declared insane and seize her fortune.
Sadie is a force of nature – she has been in Puddling Village for well over the normal 28 days and is still causing problems with her antics – she is walking a fine line – she wants to appear “uncured” but can’t step over the line to “incurable” and therefore insane. She meets Tristan Sykes when he comes into the store she is in – having crawled into the back room through an open window to get to the telegraph machine – oh and she is dressed in trousers that she stole.
Tristan is appalled and fascinated by this woman – she is strikingly beautiful, tall, redheaded with an impressive bosom (not that he is looking) and she is currently on her knees howling. He is temporarily taking over his father’s position on the board of governors and refuses to let this woman ruin the town’s stellar success rate! He puts an end to her nonsense and proceeds to walk her back to her cottage.
They arrive to find her cottage in flames and has no choice but to let her stay at his father’s house. When these two are caught by her father in a compromising situation – they are forced to marry. Tristan has not had the best of luck with wives and Sadie wants no part of being married. The events leading up to the wedding and the actual wedding are hilarious! Tristan begins to hope that the marriage can become a real marriage and just when it seems like things are going to work out with these two, the author throws a wrench into their HEA.
Sadie has decided that she wants to keep Tristan and thought things were going along swimmingly – but all of a sudden he has turned into the prig she met in the grocer’s. She realizes that she will have to seduce him if she wants to keep him. Again, it looks like things are going to fall into place and then BAM! another twist is thrown at them.
I really enjoyed this book, it has a lot of depth, is paced well, the writing is wonderful, the love scenes steamy, the problems quickly resolved, it has laugh out loud moments and a fantastic epilogue. I did think that Sadie was a little over the top at the beginning of the book, but as I got to understand her motivations and her past – I realized that the real Sadie was a truly warm, loving person and that her behavior was really the armor she used to protect herself and not who she really was.
I would highly recommend this book – it is the second in the series, but it could easily be a stand alone title.