Series: The Society for Single Ladies #3
Publication Date: 11/17/20
Number of Pages: 257
I love The Society for Single Ladies – what an intrepid bunch of single ladies. They solve crimes and find romance, what could be better than that? While this is the third book in the series, it can easily be read as a standalone. Yes, you meet characters from the earlier books and there are some references to them, but you don’t need to have read the books to understand them. The book is well-written, nicely paced, and populated with lovely characters.
Francis Collingwood, the Earl of Wolverstone, is now a well respected and wealthy man, but that wasn’t always the case. Francis’ parents were a love match – but a very unequal one. His mother was always referred to as a milkmaid though she was the daughter of a wealthy farmer. Society never accepted her though she was the loveliest of women in every way. With only a modest fortune, Francis was always looked upon as inconsequential mostly because of his mother’s background. At least he was until he made his Grand Tour and rather than partying his way across Europe, he used his time to make contacts and learn ways to increase his wealth. His father fell in love with his mother at first sight and nothing else mattered to him. Francis also fell in love at first sight, but sadly the woman he saw and loved, Lady Virginia Dulverton, was a newlywed, so there was no chance for them. At least not until her husband died some years later.
Virginia’s home life was unhappy, to say the least, so she was very happy when Viscount Ralph Dulverton offered for her. She was so happy to escape her parents that she even fancied herself in love with Ralph. That changed on their wedding night and it never changed. Now, he is still controlling her in death. She was taken with the young Wolverstone when she met him ten years ago, but she was newly married and nothing could come of it. Now, he’s showing interest again and she still can’t let anything come of it. But goodness, she is drawn to him.
There are a number of factions at work – most of them against Virginia – and she isn’t aware of any of them. She’s carrying along with the terms of Ralph’s will and living her life. She loves her independence and has no desire to ever marry again. She cannot stomach the idea of another man having control of her and her life. Yet, Francis makes no secret of pursuing her.
Things really heat up when Francis rescues her at a ball – and is then attacked and warned to stay away from her. As he continues to pursue her, he’s attacked again, on her doorstep, and nearly dies. Off across the country, she goes with him in hot pursuit. There are villains aplenty – we just don’t know who they are – and they are bent on harm to both of them now. Oh! My goodness! What an exciting chase. Then there are cold drafty houses right on the sea – with cliffs and cellars – and more villains. Our couple certainly have to work for their HEA.
I loved the story and the chase and the romance. Francis was absolutely wonderful and I loved absolutely every minute of his page time. I liked Virginia as well, but her TSTL moments just made me doubt that she was as smart as we were supposed to think she was. Her constant ‘doubts’ also carried on way too long. I understand her life and yes, she suffered mental abuse at the hands of both her parents and her spouse – but – good grief – it was time to move on long before she did. I wanted to reach into the pages and shake her.
I hope you’ll enjoy the book as much as I did – and I’m looking forward to the next entry in the series.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.