Third in a historical romance series (The Viscount’s Promise, 2018, etc.) about women who have been burned in love and the men who convince them to take a risk.
Ever since her family was ruined by a nobleman who seduced and abandoned her older sister, Miss Rosalind Merriweather “had been passed around as a [paid] companion...like a plate of particularly unappetizing food at a party.” Her latest charge is a painfully shy girl whose wealthy parents hope to marry into the nobility. Rosalind’s sister’s debauchery and subsequent death have made our heroine deeply skeptical of London society, especially of charming rogues like Sir Tristan Crosby. Rosalind’s attempts to thwart Sir Tristan’s attention to her charge bring them into contact, and he becomes intrigued by the tart-tongued woman from Staffordshire. Tristan’s upbringing at the hands of a cruel father who far favored his half brother has made him feel like the worthless libertine Rosalind believes him to be. But Tristan has found a secret wellspring of happiness in his ability to use his charms to arrange suitable matches for young ladies like Rosalind’s charge. Both Rosalind and Tristan have buried hurts which are slowly revealed as they begin to like and trust one another underneath their steady trading of barbs. At the same time, their growing attraction seems dangerous for them both. Britton’s plot is motivated by a close study of the rules of the matchmaking season in Regency-era London society, and she writes with respect for the refinement of the time period. While Rosalind’s stereotyping of all London’s rich families can be fatiguing, she eventually grows to acknowledge everyone's humanity: “We are all like paper dolls, flat, garbed carefully, only showing what we wish for others to see. But within we are books’ worth of stories and dramas, heartaches and joys.”
A sweet, emotional Regency romance with enough simmering passion and lively, intelligent dialogue to please fans of the genre.