Captain Peregrine Tracey was humiliated when the rich but common Ansteys rejected his suit for their eldest daughter Mary, but he never gave up hope that they would one day marry. After 10 years of serving in the military, Peregrine inherited the title of the Earl of Devenahm and was instantly acceptable to the Ansteys as a son-in-law.
Determined to erase the memory of his earlier humiliation, the new Earl immediately sets out for the Ansteys country estate to claim Mary's hand in marriage. Unfortunately, it is immediately apparent to Emily, Mary's younger sister, that whatever affection used to exist between Mary and Peregrine is no longer there. Indeed, Mary seems quite in love with the vicar, Reverend Peter Cummings and he with her. However, Mary would never refuse to do her duty and she knows that her family is counting on her to help them rise in social prominence, so she is determined to go through with the wedding. Emily cannot bear to see Mary unhappy so she promptly drugs Mary's morning tea, slips on a brown wig and marries the earl herself. Unfortunately, her whole plan backfires when the earl refuses to get the marriage annulled.
So Emily is swept off to the Earl's estate and determines to make the best of her new life as a countess. She finds herself increasingly attracted to the handsome, taciturn earl, yet unwittingly alienates him every time he comes near her. The Earl is very frustrated with his newly married state and turns to his mistress for comfort. When her charms pall, he returns to Emily and tries to woo her, but her dratted cat seems to receive more of Emily's affection than the Earl ever will. Will the two of them ever show their true affection for each other?
This book is a typical regency romance, if a tad more far-fetched than most. I usually enjoy regency romances, but I did not care for the characters in this one. Instead of a being a charming young miss, Emily seemed like a featherheaded twit who should have been sent back to the schoolroom to grow up before she tried to marry someone. I liked the Earl, but the author didn't spend a lot of time on his character. Emily and the Earl spent much of the book apart and the whole book seemed to be filled with rather boring incidents to keep the plot going, but were never really followed up on. The author would introduce something, like Emily's charity work with the poor at the Earl's estate, and then just drop it for the rest of the book. If you are not going to use something to further the plot along then it simply isn't necessary in the book at all. Anyway, I was disappointed in this romance. The author has a nice writing style, but the book has little else to recommend it.
This report prepared by Debbie