Tracy’s rating: 4 of 5 stars
Series: Misfits of Mayfair, #1
Release Date: October 13, 2020
An accident brings Lady Charlotte “Lottie” Wentworth and the man who humiliated her during her first (and only) London season seven years ago. As much as she despises Ethan Ridley, Viscount Amesbury, she has no choice but to accept his help. They form a fragile truce and she admits that he does seem like he has changed, but not enough to completely forgive him. They part ways and he wishes her well and hopes to see her in town – not likely!
Lottie is only going to town to find a husband – on her own terms. Her father proposed a match and she declined, so she has until the start of the season to find an acceptable husband or she will have to marry the man her father has chosen. Lottie wants no part of love, she just wants to retire to an estate of her own and live her own life – without a husband getting in the way. At one time she had dreams of happily ever after, which included Ethan, but he showed his true colors and she was dubbed the Paper Doll Princess and became the laughingstock of the ton. Her mother whisked her home and they planned to return in a year, but tragedy struck, first her brother died and then her mother. After that her father locked himself away and Lottie took over the estate management. But recently her dad has taken an interest again, thus her need to find a husband. She finally makes it to London and can’t believe that Ethan is staying next door to her aunt!
Ethan has grown up since the last time he saw Lottie, at that time he was new to his title – a title he never expected. He inherited a debt ridden estate and needed a heiress, he thought Lottie fit the bill, but when her dad sent him packing, he got drunk and said the words that sent her running back to the country in tears and sadly that was not his only mistake – he also cost his clansman Connor his leg in a racing accident. As a result, Ethan has striven to become a better man and for the most part has succeeded. But he is still hobbled by guilt and feels the needs to make amends. He has come to town for two reasons, one to find a brewmaster for his brewery business and to visit his friend Cal, Earl of Carlyle. Cal tells him that his presence was requested at a dinner party – for years Ethan has tried to fit in and has never been accepted, so he is surprised at the invitation. But the reason becomes clear when he arrives and sees Lottie – they have been set up. But Lottie is gracious and plays that they are reconciled – he plays along and becomes intrigued.
They spend time together and form a friendship of sorts. When the man her dad wants her to marry tries to force his hand, she turns to Ethan, she proposes they have a faux engagement to get rid of her annoying suitor and he agrees – but he plans to win her this time! Little by little, he chips away at the wall she has around her heart and finally she agrees to marry him – but old doubts, conniving fathers and spurned suitors will not make their path to HEA easy.
I thought this was a well written story and for a debut it was very good. Overall, the story flowed at a good clip, there were some title/formal address errors, some modern verbiage and at times, I found Lottie hard to like and thought Ethan was a bit of a glutton for punishment. But for the most part, I thought it was well researched and entertaining. There is a lot of emotion, some witty dialogue, great secondary characters, drama, misunderstandings, determined and possibly insane suitors, steamyish love scenes, a bit of angst and heartache and finally, HEA. This is the first book in a new series and I will definitely be looking forward to reading more from this new author.
*I am voluntarily leaving a review for an eARC that was provided to me by the publisher.*