This was a delightfully light-hearted read populated with fun, energetic, loving characters who come to learn that ‘family’ doesn’t always happen through blood. Sometimes families are created from the people who enter your lives for one reason or another and this unlikely family forms from adversity and grow into unselfish love.
Emmeline Hervey was born and raised at Winnover Hall and she loved the estate with all her heart. When she was faced with having to leave because the estate was actually owned by her grandfather, a duke, she decided to do whatever it took to remain there. Since her parents had decided to give up their residence at the estate, that meant Emmeline had to go as well because the estate would go to the next cousin to marry. The solution is simply – Emmeline just has to marry – and quickly.
William Pershing and Emmeline Hervey had long been friends because they’d grown up near each other. William was a shy, socially awkward young man who had a very strong affection for Emmeline. Just imagine his surprise when she walked up to him at a ball and without preamble proposed to him. Did he accept – you bet he did. Except, he’d hoped for more than the partnership that Emmeline proposed.
Staying at Winnover meant having to produce offspring within 5-years. When those offspring didn’t appear, Emmeline made them up and fleshed them out for her relatives through letters. That bought her an extra three years — until the duke decided to throw a big birthday bash for himself and demanded the presence of ALL of his family – including the children. Emmeline has two choices – she can give up Winnover or she can figure out how to ‘borrow’ a couple of children for a while. Either way, she has to tell William because he knows nothing about the children or her lies.
It was a true surprise when William accepted what she told him and joined her in her efforts to remain at Winnover. Why wouldn’t he – he married her so she could keep it? Their efforts to find children they can borrow lead to some very strange encounters with their neighbors. Orphans! That is a great solution and off they go.
It was so much fun reading about the merry chase the two orphans lead William and Emmeline on. These were street-smart and very determined children who were so delightful to read. I absolutely LOVED George and Rose – they made the story.
I loved watching the four of them negotiate their way to love, trust, and acceptance – and for Will and Emmeline’s marriage to become everything Will had hoped for – and everything Emmeline didn’t know she wanted.
Why didn’t I give it 5-Stars?
• While I enjoyed the story – and can recommend it as a good read – something about William and Emmeline’s relationship for the first eight years of their marriage just didn’t ring true for me.
• Adoption is spoken about and acted upon as part of the story – but adoptions couldn’t happen at that time in England. At best, it would have had to have been a guardianship. Those little inaccuracies bother me – especially when a little research would have allowed the author to get it right.
• Another thing I wished for is an Epilogue set a year or two into the future. I wanted to see Emmeline expecting (or having delivered) a child and showing George and Rose and how well they’ve settled in. That all just seemed a little unfinished to me.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.