Tracy’s rating: 4 of 5 stars
Series: The Mad Matchmaking Men of Waterloo, #1
Release Date: April 14, 2021
Anthony Bartlett lost much more than just his arm in the war, he lost the life he knew as the “spare” to the Duke of Swansborough. With the death of his older brother, Anthony became the duke’s heir and inherited not only his brother’s courtesy title of Marquess of Rockingham, but his brother’s fiancée as well, and he wants neither – much to his father’s dismay. But after almost a year of convalescing – the duke is done coddling Anthony and makes his position clear – Anthony will marry and produce an heir. Anthony seemingly agrees but plans to find a way out of his unwanted betrothal.
Lady Arabella Gibbs is the only child of the Earl of Ainsworth and is equally determined to escape the bonds of matrimony. But when she meets Anthony, she sees a wounded soul and her sweet, caring nature cannot turn her back on his suffering. She offers Anthony her friendship, which he immediately rebuffs. And while Arabella doesn’t want to marry and agrees to work with him to end the engagement, she is still set on helping Anthony overcome the deep, unseen wounds that are still festering in his soul.
Slowly, Anthony realizes his mistake in trying to push away Arabella, and she soon becomes his lifeline in his struggle to be “normal” while dealing with flashbacks to the war. They have formed a true bond and are exploring their shared attraction when they are outmaneuvered by their parents and marriage becomes unavoidable. But marriage is the least of their problems when it becomes clear that Anthony’s father has betrayed him and they are taken captive by an evil man set on “fixing” Anthony. After months of confinement, they are finally able to escape but to save his love, Anthony will sacrifice himself to see her free – a sacrifice Arabella is not willing to let him make as long as she has breath in her body – with the help of Anthony’s friends, she declares war on the duke to save the man she loves!
This was a very deep and emotional story, written with startling and heartwrenching detail. As always the author has researched her subject matter and produced a well-plotted, original, interesting story with wonderful characters, warm love scenes, great secondary characters, accurate historical detail, and a beautiful love story complete with a happy ending. I did enjoy the story, but in all honestly, I found the book a little bit on the wordy side and was guilty of skimming through excessive dialogue that really did nothing to progress the story. All in all, it was a good book that I would be happy to recommend.
*I am voluntarily leaving a review for an eARC that I requested and was provided to me by NetGalley and the publisher. All opinions in this review are my own. *