Tracy’s rating: 3.5/4 of 5 stars
Series: The Lovelocks of London, #1
Release Date: September 1, 2022
All Harriet “Harry” Lovelock wants is to be left alone to work on proving Fermat’s conjecture, a mathematical theorem that has baffled mathematicians for two centuries. But her stepmother insists that she participate in a London season in hopes of finding a husband. Harry has no desire to marry, she is brilliant but socially inept and has health issues that will most likely prevent her from having children, not to mention she has no desire to have a physical relationship – so what man would even want her, not to mention, the social whirl is taking time away from her work. She thinks that Mama Katie will realize that Harry is not meant for marriage, but it soon becomes clear that her stepmother is not going to give up and when the opportunity arises, Harry takes matters into her own hands and brokers a marriage of convenience with the fortune-hunting rake that was just rejected by her stepmother when he proposed to her.
Thomas Drake, Earl Drake is in desperate need of a fortune and hopes that the beautiful and very rich widow Mrs. Lovelock, a former actress, will be swayed into marriage by the thought of gaining a title. But she makes it clear that she knows he is only after her money and that she is not interested. He then turns his attention to finding another heiress without much success, he is starting to wonder if he will ever find a bride when he is surprised by an unexpected visitor in his room. Harry offers him a marriage of convenience, she will give him her fortune and in return, he will leave her alone to work on her mathematical theorem – there will be no physical relationship between them and he is free to continue the hedonist life he has always lead, including taking lovers. And though he finds Harry odd with her blunt speech and the way she takes everything very literally, he agrees and they wed.
They go to his estate and he insists on Harry taking care of her health, and slowly her health improves and an unlikely friendship develops between them. Eventually, Thomas realizes he wants more from Harry than she agreed to give, but can they renegotiate their terms, or is he doomed to endure a loveless marriage?
OK, this book had a lot going on and I have mixed feelings. The story itself was good, and Harry instantly reminded me of the character Dr. Temperance Brennan from the TV show Bones which delighted me to no end. And I thought that Thomas was a very complex character and while he projected a jaded, pleasure-seeking playboy, he was actually a very sensitive man who hid his pain and insecurities behind his rakish mask. However, I was really turned off by a scene not long after they married in which Thomas is frustrated with Harry and runs off to London and sleeps with a prostitute – on page and in graphic detail. I can’t abide adultery in romance stories and while the author did mention certain triggers, she did not mention cheating (and I know that they agreed to him having lovers – but I didn’t expect to have to read about his escapades and I certainly didn’t want to read that “after he had penetrated her for the third time”) If cheating had been in the triggers and I really think it should have been – I would not have requested the book. Honestly, I almost decided to quit reading the book at that point, but I felt obligated to finish as I had committed to a review. Thankfully, that was the only incidence of cheating and in regards to the other triggers mentioned, while difficult to read, they were well done and thoughtfully executed. Overall, this book was an interesting read and I would consider reading more by this author.
*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.*