It isn't often that I pick up a historical these days. It was the first genre that I encountered in romance and I od'ed on them for years. I eventually branched out to contemporaries and rarely ventured back to historicals. I picked this one up out of curiosity to see how the genre is doing these days. I was pleasantly surprised by Ms. Well's novel.
Sebastian is the third Earl of Carlton who has no interest in fulfilling his obligation of marrying and providing an heir. As a second son, his father ignored him until his older brother died under questionable circumstances. So Sebastian avoids doing anything that would have pleased his father. He also has issues with his mother since she also ignored him. He is called suddenly to the bedside of his godfather, Sir Hugo Mainwaring, who is dying. Sir Hugo filled the gap in young Sebastian's life. Needless to say he feels obligated when Sir Hugo asks him to marry his granddaughter, Gemma Maitland. So he makes a deal that he will ask Gemma to help with his sister, Fanny's wedding, and in the process expose her to eligible men. If she finds a suitable husband, his obligation will be satisfied. If not, Sebastian will marry her himself.
Gemma isn't interested in finding a husband. She merely wants to be left alone in the country to run her grandfather's estate. Her mother, Sybil, has such a reputation that Gemma doesn't wish to deal with society. She was surprised by the appearance of Sebastian after such a long time and is shocked to find she is attracted to him. Sebastian, to his dismay, feels the same. The last thing either of them wants is to fall in love as that would interfere with the lives they had planned on. But Cupid has his own agenda.
On the surface, this is a typical plot for historicals. There is, however, the matter of the depth of emotion Ms. Wells is able to convey which gives new dimensions to this romance. She has a deft hand in regards to description with an eye for color and texture. I was really pleased with the efforts of this debut author. I suggest that everyone keep an eye on Ms. Wells as I see great stories on the horizon.
She could overcome her infamous past-but not a present-day passion.
As a promise to her dying grandfather, self-proclaimed rake Sebastian Laidley has three months to marry off his childhood friend Gemma-or marry her himself. But this daughter of a notorious seductress has inherited her mother's charms, and when she turns them on Sebastian, he'll long to be the only man who wins her heart.