When the new earl inherits, poor relation Miss Rebecca Bond must wed immediately or be out on her ear. The only man she’s ever loved is summoned to hear the will—but he already rejected her so soundly that they haven’t spoken in years. Yet who better than a rakish Viscount to teach her how to snare a gentleman who appreciates her charms?
Daniel Goodenham, Lord North Barrows, regrets nothing more than the lost friendship with the one woman who treated him like a man, not a title. Fate has given him the perfect pretext to win her forgiveness—even if it means having to matchmake her to someone else. But now that she’s back in his life, he’ll do anything to convince her to choose him instead…
This story was first featured in the Vexed anthology.
I’ve read several of Ridley’s books before so I am pre-approved on Netgalley for many of her books on the site. This is a relatively short book, with a very limited cast of characters.
Rebecca had a dubious first season, having been shameful rejected in public by the older (he was 17) Daniel Goodenham who had just inherited his title after the death of his father. She has spent the last five years living in the shadows of Castle Keyvor, but with the death of Lord Banfield everything is now in jeopardy. The new earl becomes aware of her existance and gives her an ultimatum: with 5 girls of his own he has no extra time or money to support a sixth: she has mere months to find a husband, or he will choose a husband for her. Her parents long gone, her wardrobe significantly out of date, the chance of a small dowry, and out of practise in flirting etc., she feels she has little chance of finding a suitable husband in time.
She realises that Daniel would be coming up for the reading of the will and that she would make use of his reputation as a rake – without realising that it’s all made up in the press.
Disgusted by his birthday party, where he knows virtually no one but all the young women are flirting for his attention, Daniel comes up to the castle early. I’m not entirely sure how he’s certain that’s where she’ll be – in the need to find Rebecca’s forgiveness. He gets about a week with her before the others arrive for the reading of the will and it doesnt always go well. He finds her infinitely more intelligent and talented than he ever hoped, she finds him not the rake that the press had made him out to be.
We dont get to meet the other guests, and certainly dont sit in on the reading of the will – we only get to hear the results, which surprises at least one of the couple. This is a good choice as it doesn’t clutter the story up with 1 dimensional characters who add nothing to the story. The only character that confuses me slightly is the reaction of Mary the maid who seems to have no problem in taking orders from Rebecca, despite (apparently) Rebecca’s non-visibility around the castle for the last 5 years.
Anyway, a shortish story, that seems pretty standalone, and not requiring an investment in a series of 8 books to find out what happens to everyone involved (as seems the fashion nowadays).