Felicity Wilcox has lost her family home to a supposed gambler, who she falls in love with. Felicity Wilcox is distraught over losing her family home, Tethering. Her deceased Uncle Jonathon, a well known gambler, lost the estate in a game of cards, leaving her and her father destitute. Forced to move into Blossom Cottage, on the same property, she feels as if she has betrayed her mother. Tethering had been in her mother's family for years and on her deathbed, Felicity promised to always take care of it. Since her mother's passing, the chores she shared with her fell solely on her. She tended to the apple orchards that her and her mother planted, while maintaining the inside of Tethering as best she could. Money had been extremely tight; she had to sell off furniture for money as well as wear out dated dresses from the attic, that she dyed black to mourn her mother.
Click here to see the rest of this review
One day while picking watercress for lunch, a rider came upon her, splashing mud on her dress knocking her into the river. The rider stops and helps her from the river, laying his coat on the ground for her to sit on while he fetched the watercress that she picked, which were now floating down the river. When he returns, he shares his lunch with Felicity. While eating jam sandwiches, they enjoyed light hearted conversation as well as some flirtation. Without finding out the man's name, they part.
Back at Blossom Cottage, Felicity is preparing lunch for her and her father when there is a knock on the door. When Felicity opens the door she is surprised to see the man from the river. He introduces himself as James Collington, and he is just as delighted to see Felicity as she is to see him. Felicity's happiness is quickly shattered when James asks for the key to Tethering: he is the new owner. Felicity, hating all gamblers, especially the gambler who is taking Tethering from her, is angry and has plans to make James stay as difficult as possible.
James has been away in Spain, cultivating grapes for his successful vineyard and returns home when the debt that his deceased brother racked up comes suddenly due. To win back some of his losses he played a game of cards with Felicity's uncle to win Tethering only to sell it. James is disappointed in his brother for blackening the Collington name as well as letting their ancestral home, Granton Hall run into disrepair. Granton Hall has been in his family for centuries and is an important part of London's society. Kings had dined at Granton Hall to sign contracts and laws. James is also going to run for a Member of Parliament.
Felicity is appalled when James asks her for advice for a cook and maid to help restore Tethering as well as her help in the orchard. In spite, she offers a cook that is a drunk and is known to burn food and a lazy maid. James hires them and sees what Felicity had pulled, so he charms the women into working for him. Cook is a surprisingly excellent cook and the maid works day and night to make Tethering shine.
One day while spying on James, Felicity over hears some of the staff discussing someone who is afraid of ghosts. Felicity assumes that it is James.
James has a dinner party, inviting Felicity and her father. James gets more enamored with her as time passes. No matter how nice James is, Felicity is still angry and wants him to leave her home; so that night, she tells a tale of a woman, Annabelle, who died in the house on her wedding day. Her dress caught fire, consuming her and supposedly to this day she walks the halls of Tethering. James scoffs at this.
That night Felicity covers herself in soot and clothed only in a shift, returns to Tethering to begin her “haunting”. The next day, she hears that the stable boys saw a ghost. She is delighted that her plan worked and that hopefully James will be gone. She “haunts” the house again the following evening making sure that she is seen by the servants. James sees her and follows her home. The next day he tells Felicity that he doesn't want to see Annabelle anymore because he won't have ghost stories swirling around his home. Of course, Felicity ignores this and again “haunts” Tethering. This time, she uses a secret passage way to get into the house where she bangs on walls and moans. Returning to the passage way, she enters a room through a wardrobe and is captured by James. His guests are roaming the halls now, talking about noises. Infuriated, James ties Felicity to the bedpost with a tie and leaves her there while he calms his guests. Upon returning to his bedroom, James seduces Felicity and while they are in a comprising position, one of James guests opens the bedroom door. To avoid a scandal, he tells his guest that they are engaged. Alone again, Felicity refuses to marry him.
Felicity made a vow three years ago that she would not marry because during her grieving period over her mother's death, she had sex with Crispin, a childhood friend and now the local vicar. Crispin has been vying for Felicity's affections since he returned to town, but she does not love him. Crispin also asks her to marry him, but she refuses. Jealousy and anger simmer between both James and Crispin.
Felicity, never wanting to admit to anyone she's not a virgin, breaks down and tells James of her indiscretion with Crispin. James is a little upset with who she had sex with but Felicity assures him that it meant nothing. Felicity finally agrees to marry James and they have sex.
Two days later, James and Felicity leave for Granton Hall. Once at Granton Hall, they settle in and are invited to a ball. The couple are enjoying themselves even though James' cousin Hal is flirting with Felicity. The evening ends disastrously when Felicity finds out that James has sold Tethering. Angry, she leaves, with James in tow. James apologizes to her, explaining he was going to tell her but he wanted to wait for the right time. He explains how he is in debt and Felicity tells him, she is aware of his debt. His Aunt Miranda told her. Heartbroken, Felicity explains to James that he doesn't really know her and breaks off her engagement. James, will not accept her refusal of marriage and then explains to her that she may be pregnant. Felicity agrees to allow everyone to think they are still engaged but secretly they are not. James does not accept this.
Early the next morning, Felicity returns to Blossom Cottage. James is upset when he finds out that she left and didn't tell him. He quickly sends off a missive to her, apologizing again. Lost without her, he is unable to go to her. Granton Hall's basement is filling with water and the attorney who was left to oversee the property while James was in Spain, did not do his job. The tenants' homes are in disrepair and many have left. James needs to work on Granton Hall to get it back to its original state. For the next two weeks, he works day and night on the property but is lonely and empty without Felicity. Felicity sends James a note informing him that she is not pregnant and their engagement is off. Shortly after, an invitation comes to him and his Aunt Miranda from Felicity to join them at Blossom Cottage for a summer luncheon.
Felicity not wanting to let anyone know their engagement is off continues to let her friends and family think she is still engaged. The day of the luncheon, Felicity is unsure if James will come. She made the party in honor of him since she has him paying for it. Hal is at the party and is flirts with Felicity. Hal, always a fun guy, sees that there are several games for the partygoers to play, one being archery. Hal wants a better prize than the book marks from the church so he suggests to Felicity that if he wins the archery, he'll get a kiss from her. Just at that moment, James appears and says, “Done.” Hal and James compete in archery and James wins. James pulls Felicity into the orchard and confesses his love for her. He tells her he can't live without her and needs her. He apologizes again and tells her his life is nothing without her in it. She agrees to marry him. James suggests they marry that day and Crispin performs the ceremony.
Returning to Tethering that evening, James asks Felicity where she would like to live. She is confused because she thought that they would live at Granton Hall. James admits that he gave up Granton Hall and does not want to run for Parliament. With the sale of Tethering, they had more than enough money and they decide to live in Spain on the vineyard.
Best part of story, including ending:
I found this book to be a typical love story with nothing special in it.
Best scene in story:
My favorite scene is when James tries to seduce Felicity through her bedroom door after she found out that he had sold Tethering. I found it to be very erotic.
Opinion about the main character:
I liked Felicity very much. She is a good person, with a kind heart. She is devoted to her family and works hard to keep her father happy. She is also honorable.