3.5 out of 5 stars
Definitely had some interesting plot twists…
The beginning of the book throws a ton of information at you: That Duncan is a wastrel who ran off with his married sister-in-law the day before his own wedding, that he now has to marry a woman of respectable birth within 16 days or lose one of the unentailed estates he’s been looking forward to living on, etc. Then, we learn that Margaret was young and beautiful and could have married her neighbor’s son Crispin, but she chose to stay behind and help raise the rest of her family. Now she’s thirty, Crispin is back, but she feels betrayed, no longer loves him, and so she tells him she’s engaged to another fellow (who’s asked her twice and has seemingly promised to ask again). When she finds out that intended finace has a finacee of his own, she is desperate: she more or less runs into Duncan, and they decide to become engaged to each other.
The setup was a LOT of tell, tell, tell, but that’s really just because there were so many pieces necessary to get the story going.
Once it gets off the ground, it’s actually pretty good and the evolving relationship between them is believable, mostly sweet (and only sometimes frustrated by overly long misunderstandings). There are some predictable plot twists (spoiler ahead: that he didn’t really abscond with his potential sister-in-law out of love, but rather to save her, that he didn’t really cuckold his potential brother-in-law and was really acting quite honorably throughout) as well as some completely left-field plot twists (that I won’t giveaway, but were definitely interesting…).
As with some other Balogh books, I felt that some of the ending resolutions were almost too easy, that some of the misunderstandings dragged longer than necessary, and that the sex scenes aren’t particularly sensual. Still, it was a good read, and a nice addition to this series.