Source- review copy
Publisher- Knox Publishing
Publication date: 8th March 2012
Synopsis: Charity Barlow wished to marry for love. The rakish Lord Robert wishes only to tuck her away in the country once an heir is produced.
A country-bred girl, Charity Barlow suddenly finds herself married to a marquess, an aloof stranger determined to keep his thoughts and feelings to himself. She and Lord Robert have been forced by circumstances to marry, and she feels sure she is not the woman he would have selected given a choice.
The Marquess of St. Malin makes it plain to her that their marriage is merely for the procreation of an heir, and once that is achieved, he intends to continue living the life he enjoyed before he met her.
While he takes up his life in London once more, Charity is left to wander the echoing corridors of St. Malin House, when she isn’t thrown into the midst of the mocking Haute Ton.
Charity is not at all sure she likes her new social equals, as they live by their own rules, which seem rather shocking. She’s not at all sure she likes her new husband either, except for his striking appearance and the dark desire in his eyes when he looks at her, which sends her pulses racing.
Lord Robert is a rake and does not deserve her love, but neither does she wish to live alone.
Might he be suffering from a sad past? Seeking to uncover it, Charity attempts to heal the wound to his heart, only to make things worse between them.
Will he ever love her?
Review: Charity, recently orphaned has been sent to the home of her godfather who is now responsible for her. Unbeknownst to her, her godfather has also passed away and so instead, when she arrives at the property she greets the handsome Lord Robert, his nephew. His uncle left him an inheritance one condition, he marries Charity. From two different lifestyles, Robert is pompous and spoilt and used to the high life in the city, whereas Charity is quiet, down to earth and has grown up in the countryside.
At first reluctant, Charity does agree to marry Robert because she is left with little choices as a single woman without financial support. She sets aside her wishes to marry out of love and hopes to make the most of her marriage. She doesn’t expect Robert to be cold, distant and at times cruel to her. She tries especially hard to break through Robert’s defences but wonders whether she could ever have the happy marriage she had hoped for.
Charity was a likeable character, at first quite timid and shy and eventually grows into herself and becomes more assertive and stronger. Robert, on the other hand was quite difficult to like. Throughout most of the story he was arrogant, selfish and controlling and I didn’t feel like he really changed in the end, except that he apologised to her for his behaviour and admitted to the feelings he had developed for Charity. It would have been nice if the ending, what Robert and Charity learnt about each other was linked into the uncle’s perceived hopes when he wrote his will and brought them together.
The Reluctant Marquess is a story about two people from different backgrounds and views on life who face the challenge of an arranged marriage while fulfilling their hopes and dreams for the future. It was an easy historical read set in the Victorian era.
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