Elizabeth “Eliza” Merriweather and her sister, Grace, are having a season. After their parents died, they went to live with their great aunts, Letitia and Viola Featherstone. These two women are spinsters and have dedicated themselves to finding husbands for both their nieces this season. They are even using one of their father’s books to help them, RULES OF ENGAGEMENT. Eliza is certain they don’t realize this is a book of military strategy. All Eliza wants to do is get through this season. If she can manage to get through the season unattached, she will be able to claim her inheritance and go to Italy. This is her dream. Eliza has been working towards this for a long time. She has all her paintings and wishes to study under a master. The only thing Grace is longing for is an engagement.
Magnus MacKinnon inherited a title and a bankrupt estate after his brother died. Both his brother and his father had gambling and drinking problems. His uncle is trying to get Magnus to marry money to save the estate. From his first sight of Eliza, Magnus is intrigued and attracted to her. When she proposes a bargain, Magnus accepts. The terms of the bargain are, Magnus is to show interest in her to keep her aunts at bay and Eliza is to paint his portrait and find a candidate to be his bride. The more time they spend together, the more they realize they care for each other and the passion between them is explosive.
Will Eliza attain her goal of getting to Italy? Will Magnus be forced to marry for money? Will he be able to save his estate? And what of Grace? Will she manage to get engaged before the season is over?
RULES OF ENGAGEMENT is a highly entertaining read. Kathryn Caskie has done a wonderful job of bringing the Regency era to life in this story. Everything is included, from the strictures of the Ton to the balls and different events. I have to admit, my favorite characters were the great aunts. I really loved how they kept interfering in Eliza’s plans. I really enjoyed how they constantly spied on her and were obvious about it. If you enjoy Regency with a touch of humor added, you definitely don’t want to miss this one.
Chere Gruver, May 2004
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