Not a bad book, but to call it a romance is a misnomer. The romance itself starts about half-way into the book. Before that, it is a light, slightly humorous historical. The hero, Cal, serves the British government as something of a spy. Napoleon is finally dead, but Europe still seethes with instability. New countries appear, borders shift, dime-sized kingdoms collapse. In such a volatile atmosphere, a smart patriotic man and a former officer could do a lot to promote British interests.
When Cal learns that his older brother is dead, and he is the heir to the family estate and fortune, he isn’t happy. He wants to keep doing his job, but first, he needs to take care of the few details, including his two half-sisters, 18 and 20.
He plans to finish all the arrangements in a few weeks and be back on the job, but he didn’t take into account his head-strong sisters and other assorted dependents. All of them need him, but his autocratic ways, that served him so well in the army, don’t work at all on the mischievous females in his charge. They have minds of their own and no compulsion to obey his orders.
His only recourse is to marry in haste and let his new wife take care of the girls and the estate, while Call pursues his professional goals. And who better to suit his needs than the girls’ former teacher at the elite school for noblewomen, Emm.
So the romance starts, as Cal proposes a marriage of convenience to Emm, and she accepts. Of course, she does – he is a rich earl, and she is a penniless teacher. As they try to adjust to each other, to learn each other’s ways, their mutual attraction grows, finally giving truth to the genre of this novel.
The writing is professional, the characters charming, if not very deep, and their harebrained escapades are frequently amusing. The tension builds nicely, although the resolution is somewhat disappointing.
Overall – not bad. I enjoyed reading this book.
Note to librarians:
There is no image for this book cover in the BL database. I pulled it from GR. Perhaps, you could fix that and add the cover to this book. (*)
(*) I've got to practice the colored text HTML for this one. :)) Thanks, Murder.