Monday, May 1, 2017

ARC Review: Marry in Haste by Anne Gracie

Series:     Marriage of Convenience #1
Pub. Date:May 2, 2017
Length:320 pages

This is the first time I have read Anne Gracie, but she has been on my list since I met her at the RT Convention last year. She was great fun! I am excited for this series as well because marriages of convenience and stolen brides are my tied for my favorite historical romance trope, and to have a whole series has me greedy for the next book. The setting of this story is Bath and London in the early 19th Century after the end of the Napoleonic wars, and our main characters are roughly 28 y/o.

Major Calbourne Rutherford returns from the continent on important government business to discover than he has acquired the title of Lord Ashendon following the death of his rakehell brother. The situation requires more responsibility than Cal has time for at the moment, but his two hoydenish and headstrong sisters need a firm guiding hand. At wits end with their antics, Cal is driven to offer the girls' former schoolteacher a marriage of convenience in exchange for her assistance. Cal was a bit of a gruff hero that genuinely cared for his family but he didn't know how to show it. And his family failed to take into account that he only really knew how to be a soldier, and his seemingly dictatorial actions were a demonstration of his care, not meant to make their lives miserable. I enjoyed watching Cal warm up to the abundance of females in his life, and vice versa.

Emmaline Westwood fled to bath in disgrace after a scandal, and has since been teaching girls at Miss Mallard's Seminary for the Daughters of Gentlemen. While Emmaline has become accustomed to her circumstances, you can tell that she never quite gave up her dream of marriage and children. She definitely had a knack for reasoning with younger girls and helping them make the right choices without stifling their spirit. I appreciated that she went to bat for Cal and worked to make their relationship a good one from the start. She was an understanding ear when he needed it and an intermediary between him and the girls until they grew accustomed to their new circumstances. I particularly liked the way she stood up to Aunt Agatha and didn't let the old goat run roughshod over her.

The relationship between Cal and Emma was not instalove, though they did marry early on. This romance started as an arrangement, then turned to a friendship and deepened to a love match. The building of the relationship was the best part, and you just knew that this would be a deep abiding love for the pair. Cal's "important government business" served as a nice secondary storyline to advance the plot and create a little suspense.

I'm not sure if this series will follow the Rutherford females in future books, or if we will have all new characters.  Either way, I am looking forward to it.

I voluntarily reviewed an advanced copy of this book that I received from the publisher, Berkley.