ABOUT THE BOOK
Some love matches begin with marriage.
Hazel Trethow is infatuated with a notorious rake despite her father’s plans to betroth her to the heir of a wealthy barony. Her scheming to find a love match for her dearest friend and herself turns into a scandal that could ruin them both.
Harold Hobbs returns home from business in India with a plan to save his family from ruin. He does not anticipate his father’s plot to wed him to Miss Trethow. When he meets his intended, sparks fly.
This is the love story of Hazel and Harold as they find love in the most unlikely of places.
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“If we set the wedding for Monday,” the baron continued, “that will encourage the guests to stay a few days longer, allow travel time for family to arrive, and permit time to secure the common license from the bishop—a quick trip to the Diocese of Exeter to meet with Lavington will do the trick. I had hoped to set it for Friday, the morning of the soiree, but your mother helped me see reason.”
Ah. Harold understood. The mention of a wedding startled him at first, so jarring from the original conversation of contracts and investments, but on further thought, it made sense. Driffield had agreed to marry Miss Trethow after all. Sensible to host the wedding at Trelowen, see it all through, have the guests present as witnesses, and turn gossip into excitement—and how much more exciting to share tales of witnessing the union of a love match than to claim to have spent a week under the same roof as a rake and his mistress.
Clearly, his father had been hard at work the day prior. Investment gathering and wedding planning. All completed while Harold rowed the ladies across the lake, recovered from an afternoon chill, and supped with the guests.
“I assume you have something appropriate to wear?” Eugene asked.
“To the wedding?” were Harold’s first words in the conversation. “I hope I won’t be expected to attend the ceremony, only whatever breakfast or tea Mother has planned for afterwards.”
The baron stared at his son with mouth agape. “But of course, you’ll be attending the ceremony. You’re the bridegroom.”
Had Harold been holding the coffee cup, it would have slipped from his fingers onto the rug. Thankfully, he held only his composure, which slipped instead. “I beg your pardon.”
Eugene’s smile returned. “The dowry couldn’t be refused. We’ll not easily find its equal. It took some convincing, but in the end, he saw reason, saw the noose tightening, as it were. When a man sees the end of the rope, sees his opportunity for investing closing, the ruination of his daughter, the ruined future of his son, scandal…Well, it makes a man realize that the aid of a dear friend is the only solution. Now, the scandal will be silenced, and the son will look forward to a future of far more wealth.”
Harold heard the words but could not understand them. Perhaps his father intended it to be that way, or perhaps Harold was so stunned he could not make sense of any words spoken.
Gripping the arms of his chair, Harold asked, “Whom am I marrying, exactly?”
I absolutely adored Hazel Trethow and Harold Hobbs. Both were placed in untenable positions, yet made the best of those situations by looking forward rather than bemoaning what had happened to them. Sadly, both were victims of family greed and were used, unfeelingly, as pawns to garner more wealth for their families. The book is, as always, very well-written, nicely-plotted, and delivered at a smooth and even pace. This author always creates wonderfully inviting characters and stories and I have enjoyed everything she’s written.
Harold Hobbs is the son of a very wealthy baron. Well, his father pretends they have enormous wealth anyway. What they really have is a father who takes more and more chances with wild investments in pursuit of enormous wealth. What they really are is totally insolvent and the creditors will be at their door at any minute. Harold can see all of the things his father is doing wrong – and has some good ideas about how to fix them. However, his father is totally fixated on his own schemes and dismisses Harold’s suggestions. There really isn’t anything Harold can do since he hasn’t even reached his majority yet and has absolutely no control and no leverage over his father. Even when Harold learns his father is defrauding a lifelong friend of his fortune, he has no control. All he can do is clench his teeth and accept it. Even when his father tells him he plans to cancel Harold’s lifelong betrothal, he feels he has no options. Harold had really been looking forward to courting the young lady now that he is back from three long years in India.
Hazel Trethow is the apple of her father’s eye – he totally dotes on her. While her father is enamored of her lifelong betrothal to his best friend’s son, Hazel wants a love match. She’s been watching and pursuing one man in particular, but he’s ignoring her. She wonders what her betrothed is like, but she’s sure he is a toad – and he looks like one when she first meets him. In a room of popinjays who are perfectly turned out in fine clothes and powdered hair, he shows up – not so well turned out. Yet, there is something about him.
When a very unfortunate situation, which neither of them has any control over, forces them into a marriage of convenience, they both want to make the best of it. After all, marriage is a lifelong commitment. It was fun to watch them build their relationship slowly and steadily. They both wanted love, but would the machinations of their fathers allow them to have what they want? When the betrayals are revealed, can their fledgling romance survive? You’ll just have to read the book to see!
I thoroughly enjoyed the book, but I did have a hard time equating the knowledge and maturity levels of these two characters with their ages. Harold isn’t even twenty-one, and yet he has already spent three years in India because of a business investment for his father. Sometime before he was seventeen and sent to India, he managed to learn all about estate management from their steward. Another thing I had a hard time with was the casual manner in which homosexuality was treated. In that time, homosexuality was a hanging offense and nobody would have been so open with it.
These characters are lovely and their romance is lovely and I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know them. It was fun that the marriage happened early-on in the story and the relationship was built afterward. I absolutely loved a couple of the secondary characters – Nana – Harold’s grandmother was wonderful as was Patrick, Harold’s best friend. I would have wished for more ‘punishment’ for the villains (all of them), but at least there was a bit. Being the bloodthirsty reader I am, I would have been happy with the vilest of them being thrown from his horse – over a cliff – into the ocean – onto the rocks below. However, he’ll still have to live with his scars and that will have to be enough.
I can definitely recommend the book and I hope you will read and enjoy the book as much as I did.
About The Author
Paullett Golden is a Houston, Texas native who now divides her time between
Northumberland, England, and her hometown. She has been a university professor for over 20 years.
When an oncologist told her she had three months to live, she decided it was time to fulfill her dream of being a novelist. After defying the odds, she now focuses her attention on her writing.
Her debut novel has hit the Amazon bestseller list multiple times and has won a Reader Views Literary Award. She loves historical fiction of all kinds as a way to transport us to a different time and place. All research comes from authentic resources of the time and from scholarly and peer-reviewed articles from researchers specializing in the time. Though she may take liberties with the fictional aspects, she does aim for the fiction to reflect the mores, culture, laws, and environment of the time. When not writing, she can be found in her butterfly garden or on a race track.
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