Pub. Info: Pocket Star, April 2012
Setting: England, 1809
Genre: Historical Romance
Part of Series? Yes, book 3
My Grade: C

From Publisher: The surprising news that dashing steward Harrison Tolly, illegitimate son of the Earl of Ashwood, is the rightful heir to his father’s estate comes at a most inopportune time. With a wedding on the horizon and a baby on the way, a new life of privilege and prestige would be a blessing but for one problem: his heart belongs to another woman.

Harrison keeps his desires for his employer’s wife, Lady Olivia Carey, so hidden that even she does not know of his devotion. Her callous husband, Marquis Carey, went into a rampage after Olivia’s troublesome younger sister returned from her tour of Spain pregnant, and Harrison impulsively stepped in to save the entire family from scandal. Now, like Olivia, he is trapped in a loveless arrangement. When a tragic accident claims the marquis’ life soon thereafter, can Harrison seize his chance and cast aside one sister for another? Or will doing so expose the Carey family’s darkest secret—and ruin his only chance to win Olivia’s heart?

MY THOUGHTS: This was awful. This review contains spoilers. The hero, 29 year old Harrison Tolly, is the steward for Edward Carey. Twenty-six year old Olivia is stuck in an unhappy and abusive marriage with Edward, has been for six years. She’s physically, sexually (raped) and verbally abused by her husband.

They find out that her younger sister Alexa (she’s eight years younger) is pregnant. Out of nowhere, Harrison offers to marry Olivia when he barely knows her. He has absolutely nothing to gain by doing so. He just doesn’t want her child to be a ‘bastard’ like he was so out of pity, he offers marriage. Literally, the entire plot revolves around that. He’s in love with Olivia but she doesn’t know until much later, after he’s offered to marry Alexa. Alexa is a selfish immature character and I didn’t like her at all.

Olivia has a young maid named Rue. She’s slow mentally and boy, does the author keep reminding us of it. Almost every time the poor girl is mentioned it’s because she’s doing something wrong. It’s clear her character was created to provide comic relief for the author but I didn’t find it to be funny. Why create a character so you can laugh at her?

Olivia and Harrison get their happily ever after and so does Alexa. An unbelievable reunion of sorts happens involving her right at the end that made me roll my eyes. This was not a good story by any stretch of the imagination.

This was my first Julia London book and I don’t think I’d read her again.

I received this from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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