Reginald Mason is wealthy, refined, and, by all accounts, a gentleman. However, he is not a gentleman by birth, a factor that pains him and his father, Bernard Mason, within the Regency society that upholds station over all else. That is, until an opportunity for social advancement arises, namely Lady Annabelle Ashton. Daughter of the Earl of Havercroft, a neighbor and enemy of the Mason family. Annabelle finds herself disgraced by a scandal, one that has left her branded as damaged goods. Besmirched by shame, the earl is only too happy to marry Annabelle off to anyone willing to have her.
Though Bernard wished to use Annabelle to propel his family up the social ladder, his son does not wish to marry her, preferring instead to live the wild, single life he is accustomed to. With this, Bernard serves his son an ultimatum: marry Annabelle, or make do without family funds. Having no choice, Reginald consents, and enters into a hostile engagement in which the prospective bride and groom are openly antagonistic, each one resenting the other for their current state of affairs while their respective fathers revel in the suffering.
So begins an intoxicating tale rife with dark secrets, deception, and the trials of love- a story in which very little is as it seems.I have to say I enjoyed this book and I wasn't really expecting to. It's not that I hate romances, in fact, I love them if they are done well and woven within a mystery or suspense or fantasy novel- pretty much anything but a straight romance. Too me, a lot of romances are too predictable and fluffy. Nothing that really grips you and sucks you in.
And even though this book was not particularily gripping it had a different kind of plot twist that as obtuse as I am did NOT see coming. (Probably everybody else is now chuckling at my denseness because they saw it coming a mile away!)
I really can't tell you any more about the plot of the book other than the synopsis above because telling you more then that would give away more then I want to. I'm not good at keeping secrets.This was my first Mary Balogh novel and I enjoyed it enough I would want to try another.
Are you a romance reader? What authors would you recommend reading that mix romance with a really good story?