Miss Isabella Breckenridge is young and beautiful- and in a most awkward predicament. Her future depends on marrying for money, not love and as quickly as possible. Griffith, Duke of Riverton likes every moment of his life in his own control. But aware that he must face the same odds as Isabella, and marry to secure his fortune, he chooses what he is certain is the perfect wife- Miss Frederica St. Claire, who is secretly in love with a soldier presumed dead two years previous- Arthur Saunderson. But Griffith finds himself inexplicably drawn to the fragile Isabella and chance circumstances insist on throwing the errant pair in each other’s way. Will Griffith realize his true feelings before he courts the wrong woman? And will Isabella see past the haughty guise of the Duke and fall in love?
I was a little disappointed by this witty Regency romance. Kirsti Ann Hunter’s world sparkles with marriage proposals and money and rolling English countryside, but the romance itself falls short of expectation. Griffith’s blundering between Isabella and Frederica began to be tedious as chapter after chapter the arrogant Duke was unable to process the reality that Isabella was his preference. Isabella was a strong and sympathetic character who stood up to every dire situation that faced her, even an impromptu stitching of Griffith’s wound when he fell from a roof. Frederica was an interesting character in her own light, and I couldn’t help wishing there was more to her star-crossed story with Arthur. But no, instead we crept back to Griffith procrastinating about the mere fact that love EXISTS, and he hadn’t made a place for it in his linear worldview. Ryland was a fascinating side character and the incident at the boy’s school with the bat guano made for a suspenseful beginning. But he faded as the story progressed, to my disappointment. I could have read more of his wit instead of Griffith’s sulking. An entertaining read with something lacking.