A marriage of convenience despite a mutual attraction.
Andrew Macalister and Clara Masson both have their reasons for avoiding the haute ton. Andrew, Duke of Bradstone, dislikes everything about his title, especially the pressure to marry the “marriage-minded females” shoved in front of him at every society event. Lady Clara hates the same events for the opposite reason; ever since her twin sister left Lord Andrew at the altar and disappeared, her nasty brother Jonathan has encouraged vulgar rumors about Clara, and she’s been either ignored or insulted by the beau monde wherever she shows her face. After Clara sneaks into the Macalister Birthday Ball, Jonathan threatens her life, and Andrew’s fortuitous rescue and proposal are all that keep her from living on the street. Though a series of misunderstandings have kept them apart, Clara and Andrew have secretly pined for one another for years, so the imminent marriage of convenience would seem to be a happy ending. However, years of rumors and distrust, as well as Jonathan’s continued threats, may overpower their attraction. In spite of the promisingly dramatic plot, the second entry in Taylor’s The Macalisters series remains surprisingly bland whenever it leaves the bedroom. Well-loved cliché is anticipated in a Regency romance, but this one is weighted down with a confusing number of tropes that sometimes detract from the strong chemistry between its hero and heroine. Taylor is a capable writer and clearly understands the component parts of a meaningful romance story, but the whole does not quite equal the sum of its parts. The Macalisters series is planned to run for six more books, so readers who appreciate this entry can hope that she reaches the next level in one of those stories.
A serviceable Regency romance that will satisfy some readers, though it doesn’t fulfill the potential it displays.