When Henrietta Cynster steps in to prevent a friend from marrying James Glossup, her brother’s best friend, she feels honor-bound to help him find a bride; she doesn’t expect to become one herself.
Known as The Matchbreaker in late Regency society, Henrietta Cynster takes no pleasure in disrupting James Glossup’s pursuit of her friend, Melinda. But she knows Melinda wants to marry for love, and while James would like to marry her, he does not love her. Henrietta has learned that James, her brother’s best friend, needs to find a wife in a timely manner or he will lose an enormous financial inheritance that supports the tenants of his estate. Feeling guilty for placing so many innocent people in jeopardy, Henrietta agrees to help James find a suitable bride for a marriage of convenience. But as James and Henrietta plan and consider the possibilities, James realizes that the woman of his dreams is right in front of him, and a marriage of convenience is no longer an option. Convincing Henrietta he’s the man for her is risky enough, but when it becomes clear that someone is trying to kill Henrietta for no apparent reason, James, Henrietta and all of the Cynster clan jump into investigative mode to get to the bottom of it. Laurens’ newest addition to the popular Cynster family novels is a touching romance set against a mystery that heightens the sexual tension between two characters who are only beginning to understand just how much they mean to each other. The mystery—which causes Henrietta’s endangerment—seems a little strained in the end, but as it sets up dramatic external conflict and compels high-stakes emotional honesty, readers will likely be willing to forgive its weaknesses.
With witty, authentic dialogue, great writing and characters, and a charming story of two people forced to look more closely at something that’s been there all along, the romance in this book is potent and winning and generally overcomes the slightly shaky core of its suspense elements.