Tracy’s rating: 3/3.5 of 5 stars
Series: The House of Lovell, #2
Release Date: April 30, 2019
Years ago when she was Miss Anne Spillwell and he was Edward Lovell, Viscount Bredon – they were in love and planned to spend the rest of their lives together. But his father didn’t approve and told Edward to take his Grand Tour and when he returned, if they were still in love, he would let them marry. Edward left and was heartbroken when he learned Anne married Sir Erasmus Howard not long after he left.
Years later, Edward is now the Earl of Chatham and needs a rich wife to repair the finances of his estate. Thanks to the pamphlet circulating around town called the “Bachelor’s Bible”, Edward knows the richest heiress on the marriage mart is Miss Martha Finch, daughter of Baron Finch. He doesn’t want to marry for money, but really sees no other option, his one chance at love was lost years ago, so now he must consider everyone depending on him rather than his own feelings. But fate isn’t done with Edward and Anne…
Lady Anne Howard is now a widow and since her dower portion is being shared with her late husband’s mother, she has done what she can to cut expenses – including agreeing to sponsor Miss Martha Finch. At one of their first outings, she runs right into the man she loved and lost and can’t help but feel hurt that he is considering marriage to Martha. But when Edward sees Anne again, his world shifts and he desperately tries to find a way to save his estate and have Anne in his life again.
However, Anne won’t consider being his mistress and has secrets that she has never shared with anyone, nor does she want to. She tries to keep Edward at arm’s length, but acknowledges that he is exactly the type of suitor Martha’s parents want for her. The more Edward sees of Anne, the more he wants her and only her. Meanwhile, Anne is busy fending off the ineligible would be suitor, Reginald Dickey, the acknowledged, but illegitimate, untitled son of a duke, who is as captivated by Martha as she is of him. It looks like no one is going to get their heart’s desire and more than one person is going to end up heartbroken. But where there is a will there is a way and when secrets are exposed, Edward will do anything to keep the woman he loves safe.
This was a good story, but it did seem to drag a bit for the better part of the book and the last 20% or so was so chocked full of events that I could barely keep up with what was going on. Personally, I would have liked a steadier pace throughout the book with some of the ending elements dispersed sooner rather than EVERYTHING happening at once. I also felt like the writing style was completely different from any Mia Marlowe book I have ever read (and I have read them all), it was just odd, nothing was familiar, not the dialogue style, turn of phrase or pacing. I did like all the characters, the mystery was pretty good, Anne’s secrets were heart-wrenching, Edward’s love was epic and Martha, Dickey and Caroline added much needed comic relief. This is the second book in the series, but it can absolutely be read as a stand alone title.
*I am voluntarily leaving a review for an eARC that was provided to me by NetGalley and the publisher.*