Phoebe Stanhope is not a typical Lady. As feisty as she is quick witted, no one can catch her, especially astride a horse. And unlike her peers, experience has guarded her against a growing list of would-be suitors. But when she encounters Marcus Finley, what she fears most burns deep within in his blue-eyed gaze…
For Lord Finley, the spark of recognition is but a moment in the love he has held these many years. Now that he’s returned to England, all the happiness he desires rests on Lady Phoebe never finding out that he was the one who turned her heart so cold and distant. He must work fast to gain the advantage—to convince her what she wants is exactly what she denies—but in order to seduce her into his arms, he must be willing to give up more than he can control…
When Phoebe was just 15 she was at a house party with her family when she is accosted by the hosts second son. Marcus believes himself in love with Phoebe and wants her to know – especially as he is being banished by his father to the West Indies in a matter of days. He is drunk and miserable but believes that if he tells her of his love that she will hie off to Gretna Green with him. Um, no, she won’t. She is more than disgusted with Marcus when he tries to block her path and grabs her – touching the side of her breast. She isn’t afraid to show him her fist (which gives him a well deserved bloody nose) and her sharp tongue.
Cut to life eight years later and we see Marcus who has been called home by his father because his brother Arthur is dying. Marcus took Phoebe’s words that one day to heart and became a changed man. He is still in love with her and wants nothing more than to court and marry her. Of course Phoebe is a political activist and a much sought after woman and she wants nothing to do with Marcus as his actions that day have haunted her and given her nightmares.
When in London Marcus see’s Phoebe again and they stand transfixed by each other. He is entranced by her and she him but she doesn’t recognize him. After yet another meeting and a few kisses she believes him to be her knight-errant - until she finds out who he is. Marcus tells Phoebe of his love and his desire to wed her and as she sees in him a somewhat changed man she agrees to let him court her. The courting finally comes to a culmination in marriage but there’s another man who wants Phoebe for himself and will stop at nothing to get her – no matter what the cost.
This was a pleasant read. I really liked reading about both Marcus’s and Phoebe’s family.
I found Phoebe to be a little wishy-washy. I know that she had been plagued by her nightmares of Marcus for years - fifteen year olds are definitely impressionable and I’m sure that the events 8 years prior were upsetting but to have nightmares about it for 8 years? Wow, seems a little overboard. She was fearful that he would revert back to his old self but she really dragged things out way too long for my liking. Once she committed though she was all in and I liked that she didn’t hold things against him. She was a pretty good character overall and I did enjoy her for the most part.
Marcus was a good hero but obviously a romantic at heart. He wasn’t a fop but he was really whipped by Phoebe – she kind of walked on him and he allowed it for the most part. Sure she was supposed to be an independent woman but still…IDK, it didn’t really sit well with me. He was devoted, that’s for sure, and he did want to keep his woman safe so that was a plus. He was attentive and committed and I loved that about him.
I’m not sure how I felt about the villain in this book. He was a right bastard and obviously written to be a cruel, heartless man but his part in the book, imho, was unnecessary. The book was drawn out, it seemed, to include his part when it really didn’t further the story along. It almost appeared to be thrown in to add some action. I thought there was enough going on with the romance, their families, the families machinations in getting Phoebe and Marcus together and Arthur’s illness to make a perfectly respectable novel. I’m hoping in subsequent novels we don’t have the villain issue.
Overall a nice read that was entertaining. I’ll be reading more in this series and I’ll let you know about those books as well.
Rating: 3.25 out of 5