On his quest for revenge, Bourne forces his childhood friend into marriage to gain back his property. Lady Penelope recognizes the boy she once adored, but quickly learns that this man will need help reclaiming more than just property. Excellent!
I recently read MacLean's Love By Numbers series, and was excited to read this quartet since it features some minor characters from that trilogy, and was not disappointed. While this doesn't break much new ground in the well-mined territory of Regency romances, both main characters are interesting with intriguing backstories, the supporting characters are excellent, and the setup for later books in the series has me eager to read more. MacLean balances romance and humor quite well, and I'd recommend this for fans of Julia Quinn and Eloisa James.
Maclean’s latest focuses on Lady Penelope Marbury, years after she was jilted by the Duke of Leighton (as told in Maclean’s previous book, Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke’s Heart). Michael, Marquess of Bourne, lost his inheritance to his devious guardian, and, since then, has increased his funds and his notoriety -- but not his respectability -- by running one of London’s most exclusive gaming hells. Still, he wants what he does not have: social standing, and his childhood home, which has been offered up as part of his childhood friend Penelope’s dowry. Naturally, he kidnaps Penelope and marries her, and she pretends to all it is a love match.
With her trademark humor and wit, Maclean offers up another heroine in the vein of Austen: smart, plucky, and opinionated, but all too familiar with the strictures society places on her. The challenges Penelope faces in her marriage to Bourne are at turns frustrating and heartwarming, and the growth and change in Penelope and Bourne’s marriage makes for a read that is at turns fun, engrossing, and steamy.
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