What could be more devastating to a girl than to find out the man she just married, the man she thought was going to be her best friend, had only married her for her money? This is what happened to Beatrice Chaswell soon after she had become Lady Faulconer. Beatrice had never been a beauty, always more of an oddity. She much preferred the company of inventors and inventions, to fashions and fribbles. Her parents felt that she had to go to London and find a husband, with her huge dowry that shouldn’t have been so hard. Three seasons later she still hadn’t found anyone she liked until Gabriel, Earl of Faulconer sweeps into her life and steals her heart. She thought he really cared for her until she overhears someone saying how badly Gabriel needed her money to rescue his estate from falling down around his ears. She was crushed, never again would she let her heart lead her astray. Thus they begin their marriage.
Gabriel had returned from the war with France to discover his father and brother had let the family estate fall completely into ruin. The tenants had taken to poaching just to survive, he needed money and he needed it quick. Off to London he went to find an heiress. What he found quite surprised him. Oh, he found the usual simpering beauties, but he also found Beatrice. She wasn’t a common beauty, she wasn’t particularly beautiful, but she did speak her mind, was well read and she loved the country. She was ready to return to the country and didn't care if she ever returned to London. Perfect. Quick whirlwind romance, announce the Banns and snap they were married. He did however, forget to mention how badly he needed her money.
Beatrice felt betrayed and Gabriel had no idea how to fix things between him and his wife. The only thing that was going well was, once Beatrice arrived at Falcon Park she threw herself into the repair and refurbishing of the estate. Enter Vicar Humbly, he had performed the wedding service of Beatrice and Gabriel and had heard that all was not well with their marriage. He thought of himself as kind of a matchmaker and he was going to make things all well between Beatrice and Gabriel. Before Vicar Humbly could retire to his cottage he would make sure they had the love match they deserved. This is a fun regency romp. A busy body Vicar, a lonely widowed aunt, a falling tree branch and a hidden priest’s hole keep this story interesting. This was an entertaining cast of characters.
Debbie Olson, March 2003
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