A Pretend Betrothal by Lana Williams

A Pretend Betrothal (The Mayfair Literary League, #2)A Pretend Betrothal by Lana Williams

Tracy’s rating: 4 of 5 stars

Series: The Mayfair Literary League, #2

Release Date: February 28, 2023

Lady Tabitha “Tibby” Malton has loved Michael Shaw for as long as she can remember, but her relationship with Michael is firmly in the “friend zone” and he shows no signs of seeing her as anything more than a friend. To complicate matters, Tibby’s mother has become increasingly needy and socially withdrawn, yet she demands Tibby’s attendance. Tibby fears if she doesn’t do something soon, she will spend the rest of her life as her mother’s companion with no chance of love or a family of her own. So when her friend Pheobe from the Mayfair Literary League suggests that they each should make a bold move to capture the attention of their secret crush, the “For Better or Worse” agenda is launched and Tibby vows to be brave enough to follow her heart. She approaches Michael and asks if he would be willing to engage in a pretend betrothal with her, she tells him she hopes that the thought of Tibby marrying might encourage her mother to rejoin society and be less dependent on Tibby, she also thinks it will stop Michael’s mother from pressuring him to marry. At first, he refuses, but later agrees, so now she has to make him fall in love with her.

Michael Shaw is the second son of an earl and has recently sold his commission in the military after spending the last ten years in service. He has returned home but feels a bit lost and not sure what to do with the rest of his life. He is surprised by Tibby’s proposal and declines because he worries that it could ruin her reputation, but with his mother pressing him to marry and Tibby assuring him she isn’t worried about her reputation, he agrees and soon he is seeing his dear friend in a new light and discovering that he can’t seem to stop kissing her. He is wondering if she would consider a true betrothal, but before he can broach the subject, he learns of the Mayfair Literary League’s mission and feels betrayed. Can they overcome her deception or has she lost her chance at HEA?

I enjoyed this well-written, nicely paced story, it was easy to sympathize with Tibby and root for her HEA. Likewise, Michael was also easy to like, and his struggle to find a new purpose in life was entirely relatable. The bond between them was clear from the start, but it seemed to take Michael a long time to figure out and accept his new feelings for Tibby, and I didn’t quite understand why Tibby had such a low opinion of herself. Together these two bring out the best in the other and they share a true friendship, add to that, a great supporting cast of characters, secrets, kisses, and forgiveness and you have a delightful read. I did think the ending was a bit similar to the previous book, but overall the story was completely different and a joy to read, I would however have liked to know the outcome of his botany experiment (just saying…). This is the second book in the series, but it could easily be read as a standalone title.

*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.*

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Avid reader (and reviewer) of historical romance.

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