The overly scientific, always respectable, and socially awkward Alexander Banks has just been informed his name resides on a betrothal agreement right above the name of the worst chit in all of England. With a loophole that allows him to marry another without consequence before the thirtieth anniversary of his birth, he has only four weeks to find another woman and make her his wife. Being the logical scientist he is, Alex decides to take his friend’s advice and treat his quest for a bride just like a science experiment…
Caroline Sinclair is still trying to scrape her jaw off the floor after hearing her cousin, Lady Olivia’s, latest announcement when the object of their conversation, Alex Banks, Olivia’s intended, arrives for what Caroline assumes is a bout of drawing room chitchat with his betrothed. But when an experiment is mentioned, Caroline, who cannot resist a science experiment any more than she can deny her lungs air, volunteers to help before she even knows what his latest experiment is!
This certainly isnt your traditional Regency romance – whilst there are plenty of Lords, Ladies and Barons (at least in title), in act they are not what you would expect! Some of the people in here use words and talk about concepts that you wouldn’t expect Regency people – especially women – to be aware of, so if you prefer your romances to be more traditional, this isn’t the book for you.
Olivia is an absolute fright and thankfully doesn’t make too many actual appearances during the story, although some of her actions do. Marcus is her brother and rather a recluse after an accident several years previously had left him badly scarred and with a permanent limp.
“Arid” Alex Banks is not the traditional romance hero – he is scientific minded, hasn’t made too many romantic conquests, wears glasses and sometimes struggles with banter. Alex’s has an extensive family, none of whom could be classed as “traditional” and many of whom could be classed as having skeletons in the closet – such as pre-marital sex, seductions, and babies that arrive “premature” not long after a wedding. Caroline is well aware of the nature of her past, who her parents are, and what it can mean to her having a decent future in the marriage stakes. She grew up as an only child, who from 7 years old was brought up by her uncle whilst living with the her cousin, the horrendous Olivia. Alex’s family do have reasonable relationships, which gives Caroline a glimpse into how other families can do it.
Alex and Caroline are well rounded characters, some of the secondary characters are decent and are likely to be the source of future books (there’s at least 2 potential grooms in this book!). Alex’s social awkwardness and lack of experience with women, and Caroline’s insecurities and lack of a knowledge in the finer points of life (she knows of the birds and the bees but not how that translates into the marriage bedroom) means there are plenty of opportunities for misunderstandings and the big confrontation near the end.
So in summary: a Regency romance that is more romance than Regency, with some moderately spicy sex scenes, and a non-Regency take on things