by Cheryl Holt is the tale of Emeline Wilson who seeks to convince Captain Nicholas Price, earl of Stafford, to come to his inherited estate and take an interest in its management. She travels to London with the intention of forcing a confrontation with the hedonistic man who is determined to thumb his nose at society and the return to army life when his furlough is up. Nicholas has serious issues with the estate that he reluctantly visits but is unaware of everything that has been perpetrated in his name by the manager, Mr. Mason, whereas his brother Stephen is strongly tempted to cash out of the army and retire to the very place that Nicholas despises. Emeline is desperate to find a way to support herself and her younger sisters but she has to deal with the attraction that she feels for the commitment-phobic Nicholas. She finds a kindred spirit in her friend, the widowed Josephine (Jo) Merrick, who is trapped in her position as her brother’s companion but also attracted to a Price brother. Are both women doomed to have their affections unrequited? It depends on how they deal with the significant pre-existing commitments that each brother already has. The problem is that there are others who have their own ideas of the appropriate destiny for each woman which does not include either Price male. Who will prevail? Only the strong willed.
This was a somewhat unconventional love story that was slightly disappointing to my personal criteria for romance. I am not comfortable that both of the brothers are manipulative and self-serving and to me, wishy-washy. One of the things that most attracts me to historical romance is the strong sense of honor and responsibility that most of the positive characters display and I felt that most of the major players in this tale were reluctantly forced into their roles. There are lovely sensual scenes and the overall premise is entertaining but the resolutions to some of the conflicts seem a bit too contrived or stilted to me. An adequate light read.
I was provided a copy of this title in exchange for an honest review. I had signed up for a particular date of a blog tour but somehow did not receive the print copy that I was offered before my chosen posting date therefore I offer my apologies to anyone who looked for my review several days ago.