Annabel’s constant worrying over the straitened family finances skewed her view of marriage, to such an extent that love is not a prerequisite for her. Rather, she has decided to sacrifice love for the sake of a landing practical, secure and safe marriage. To that end, she’s set up some criteria for her future husband. He must be very rich, English, and nice enough.
So when the gorgeous but impoverished Ewan, Earl of Ardmore, proposed marriage to her, she turned him down. When a twist of fate decree that they have to marry to save her reputation, Annabel has to swallow all her misgivings and follow Ewan to wild Scotland under the guise of a married couple to get married. Will she let her fear of poverty hinder her from getting to know the man whom she’s attracted to?
Or will true love open her eyes to her own worth? For Annabel, with her curvaceous body and beautiful face, is convinced that desire precludes love. Even as she melts in Ewan’s kisses and embraces, she didn’t believe that she is loved. It took some convincing on Ewan’s part in the end. Eloisa’s subtle humour and graceful prose weaves a very sweet tale of love.
The hero and heroine’s version of Truth or dare (playing for kisses as prizes for confessing a truth) reminds me of the play of words (drawing inspiration from poetry and plays) between sister Tess and Lucius in the first book. I think this love of wordplay is due in large part to Eloisa’s background in teaching literature. The journey into Scotland is marks the progress and deepening of their love without their realising it as they discover a new facet to each other that touches and binds them closer.
I like how their intimacy deepens as they journey farther into their homeland. This is comfort reading for those familiar with Eloisa’s quiet humour, charming turn of phrase and lovable characters. The story flows and unfolds very naturally with few surprises (you could already guess that Ewan would be one of those super rich guy right from start), so it makes for a very pleasant evening of reading.
I couldn’t have picked a better book to spend a weekend with. If you’re wondering what Eloisa is up to, take a sneak peek at her Readers’ Page where she posts work-in-progress reports now and then. I’ll be looking out for Taming of the Duke, and Pleasure for Pleasure next.