By Sarah M. Eden
When Crispin, Lord Cavratt, thoroughly and scandalously kisses a serving woman in the garden of a country inn, he assumes the encounter will be of no consequence. But he couldn’t be more mistaken—the maid is not only a lady of birth, she’s the niece of a very large, exceptionally angry gentleman, who claims Crispin has compromised his niece beyond redemption. The dismayed young lord has no choice but to marry Miss Catherine Thorndale, who lacks both money and refinement and assumes all men are as vicious as her guardian uncle. Trapped between an unwanted marriage and a hasty annulment, which would leave his reputation tainted and Catherine’s utterly ruined, Crispin begins guiding his wife’s transformation from a socially petrified country girl to a lady of society. Their unfolding relationship reveals encouraging surprises for both of them, and privately, each of them wonders if theirs may become a true marriage of the heart. But their hopes are dashed when forces conspire to split asunder what fate has granted, and as a battle of wits escalates into a life-threatening confrontation, will it be possible for Crispin and Catherine to live happily ever after?
Sooooo, here’s another regency romance by the lovely Sarah Eden. This is, I guess, a kind of addendum to the world of the Jonquil brothers books, as Crispin is a close friend and honorary Jonquil brother. Crispin’s story goes at a fast clip, and also advances in a backward sort of way. It reminded me of the TV movie Love Comes Softly, because Crispin marries Catherine, and it takes a while for them to fall in love. Crispin is proud and hard-headed and had me frustrated at times with how silly he is when dealing with his ‘wife’. Catherine is so timid and fragile that he has to walk on eggshells and figure out how to treat her so she won’t run away or think he’ll hit her. This is actually a good story for showing how marriages and love can grow as you learn about your spouse and how to read their moods and figure out what makes them happy. I enjoyed the slow way that Crispin and Catherine fall in love, one good turn at a time with plenty of steps backward. This was also a good read, though I liked As You Are and Drops of Gold better.
I give it a 3.5 out of 5