Series: The Heart of A Scandal #3
Publication Date: 6/25/19
Number of Pages: 210
Barry Aberdeen, Marquess of Tenwhestle – future Duke of Gayle – isn’t who society thinks he is, but he’ll keep that to himself. He is six and twenty and has years before he’ll be ready to marry. Little does he know; his parents have other plans for him. Now that his sister, Emilia, has married (Book #2 – A Lady’s Guide to a Gentleman’s Heart) their full attention has turned to Barry.
Meredith Durant’s father was the man-of-affairs and best friend to the Duke of Gayle and she was raised on the estate along with the duke’s children. She had a happy life there until she was twenty years of age and her ailing father was ‘retired’ and they were turned out. That was ten years ago, and now her father has died and she’s been supporting herself as a matchmaker for the last eight-and-a-half years.
Meredith was shocked to see Barry Aberdeen sitting in the gardens at the Royal Horticultural Society as she was there with one of her charges. She didn’t know it was him at first, but she saw a man and admired his looks – and then he started reading poetry aloud in the most mellifluous voice and she was mesmerized. Then, he turned, and it was her childhood nemesis, the brother of her best friend, the boy who had comforted her in a stable before she had to leave the estate – and he was all grown up.
Several weeks later, Barry was at their country estate for his parent’s annual two-week house party. Oddly enough, he usually enjoyed those events and was looking forward to the entertainments, fishing, riding, etc. Then, his sister finds him where he is fishing and tells him that their mother has turned her attention to his marital status. He doesn’t believe her – but then, she shows him the list of attendees – and it isn’t the usual group who is in attendance, it is almost exclusively young marriageable young ladies and their chaperones.
I love his reactions when he realizes that the reason Meredith is at the house party is that his mother has hired her to matchmake for him. He decided he’d just show them and then promptly lead Meredith on a journey of discovery, healing, growth, and love. Barry is a wonderful hero and just the man Meredith needed. Their journey was such a sweet one – and when Meredith sacrifices all for Barry’s wellbeing – it just makes your heart beat faster and faster.
This is an excellent, fast-paced, can’t-put-it-down kind of read filled with wonderful characters and two main characters that you can’t help but love. One thing I loved about the book is that there isn’t a lot of angst and turmoil – yes, there were some unpleasant memories, but they didn’t take on the angsty colorations that you often see. To me, the only thing that would have made the book better would have been the addition of an epilogue with them at some point in the future – in the experimental gardens – maybe with a baby or expecting one.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.