Tracy’s rating: 4 of 5 stars
Series: The Gilded Age Heiresses, #3
Release Date: February 22, 2022
Lady Helena March and Maxwell “Max” Crenshaw met when Helena befriended his sisters, but their relationship took a turn when she helped him save his sister Violet from certain ruin. And while they shared a mutual attraction, nothing came of it and Maxwell returned to New York. Now a year later, Max is back in England to see his father who has had some serious health issues. Thankfully his father pulls through, but their relationship that was already strained by his father’s treatment of his sisters takes another hit when his father demands that Max marries by the new year or he will pull the funding for his sister August’s project. Unwilling to let his sister suffer or let his father win, Max hatches a plan – he just hopes that Helena is willing to play along.
Helena has been widowed and living independently for years, she loved her husband, but has decided that marriage is not for her. She spends her time working on her charitable projects, the newest being a home for unwed mothers and their children. At first, she gained a lot of support, but one by one her patrons are backing away. Apparently, her father has been poisoning the minds of her donors, he wants Helena to marry again and believes that her association with this project will ruin her chances. So when Max proposed that they fake a betrothal, just until August’s project is underway and Helena’s charity house is up and running, it seems like the perfect solution. As long as she guards her heart because, despite the passion that burns between them, Helena has a secret that she believes will prevent them from ever having a HEA…
This well-written book is a great addition to the series, Max and Helena have an undeniable on-page chemistry, making it very easy to root for their happy ending. The book does drag a bit in the middle and the come-and-go tension between them became a bit wearisome around the 70% mark, I also began to get annoyed with Helena’s insistence that she knew Max’s feelings better than he did and the solution that she came up with didn’t really work for me – I felt like she still didn’t believe that Max could unconditionally love her. That said, the book is filled with secrets, wonderful characters, great secondary characters, steamy love scenes, meddling parents, matchmaking sisters, and finally, an ending with a HEA that didn’t seem possible complete with an epilogue. I liked this book and I am looking forward to the next installment! This is the third book in the series, it can be read as a standalone title, but I would recommend reading the series in order for the best reader experience.
*I am voluntarily leaving a review for an eARC that I requested and was provided to me by the publisher. All opinions in this review are my own.*