Lady Louisa Hargreave is on the verge of announcing her betrothal to the Earl of Kerridge when her family receives some shocking news: a promissory note written by her grandfather before she was even born makes her contractually obligated to wed another. And William Barlow, the impecunious Viscount Farleigh, has no intention of tearing up that note. He needs Louisa’s dowry to rescue his estate. For the sake of the family honor, her own dreams must be sacrificed.
William always thought it a long shot that the Hargreaves would honor the note, but as he begins to understand Louisa’s steadfast character, he realizes that she could do nothing else. As they wait for the banns to be published, William has three weeks to get to know his betrothed. But with rumors and secrets about his late father swirling around the ton, William’s own retiring nature balks at revealing who he really is. And if he cannot get the lady’s goodwill, even her acute sense of family honor may desert her before the wedding day comes around.
The premise of this story was a bit farfetched, but I enjoyed watching how it all played out. Louisa’s parents were both affectionate and solicitous, an unusual quality in Regency romances, and her quick-witted and over-protective brothers were a delight. William’s reticence was depicted well and the reasons behind it. In the end, I wished for the hero to show a little more pluck, but the happily ever after still came off all right.
Disclosure: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.