A desperate young woman tries to trap a charming rogue into marriage but accidentally traps his severe and proper older brother instead.
London (Return to Homecoming Ranch, 2014, etc.) returns with the second installment of her Cabot Sisters series. Grace Cabot and her sister Honor are desperate to marry now that their stepfather has died and their stepbrother is approaching his own marriage. If they don’t, their mother’s madness will become common knowledge and there will be no hope of a husband for either sister—or for their two younger sisters still in the schoolroom. Grace decides her best bet is Lord Amherst, who has been one of her favorite flirts for two years and will make a tolerably amusing husband. But when Grace orchestrates a scene where she will be caught kissing Lord Amherst by the local vicar, she accidentally lures his older brother Jeffrey, the Earl of Merryton, instead. While Jeffrey and Grace both struggle in a new marriage to a stranger, Grace becomes increasingly aware that Jeffrey suffers from some torment. He finally reveals that he is ashamed of his own vivid erotic fantasies. He has learned to control his base desires by maintaining perfect symmetry and order and by an obsession with the number eight. Grace naturally helps him overcome the worst of his mental health problems, even as she herself grows to love his austere and quiet country home. The book’s premise is courageous. It’s not easy to make a hero like Jeffrey with obsessive-compulsive tendencies into a sympathetic character. The heroine is less successful, beginning the book as a self-centered flibbertigibbet and ending as a boringly dutiful wife.
Strong prose and adventurous sex scenes make the book worth reading.