Back Cover Copy:
His unexpected bride…
Wealthy landowner Simon Clare shuns Northumbrian society. With his son gravely ill, the last thing Simon needs is an interfering woman assuming command of his household and nursing young Robert – no matter how sensuous her figure, or how tempting her luscious lips.
Phoebe Benedict knows what it is to struggle, and finds herself drawn to the badly scarred recluse. Despite his tough exterior, she knows that Simon is a father who yearns for his son to recover – and a man who misses the tender embrace of a woman…
This is the story of Simon Clare and Phoebe Benedict. I met Simon and his son Robert in A QUESTION OF IMPROPRIETY to which this book is a sequel. He was Diana’s rude brother who was part of the secondary cast in that book. Diana has since then married and is staying in London. When Robert is gravely ill and consequently getting unruly, Simon sends for Diana, for she is the only one who is able to get through to her nephew.
But instead of Diana it’s Phoebe Benedict, Lord Coltonby’s (Diana’s husband Brett) cousin, who shows up on his doorstep in the middle of a rainstorm. Out of desperation and not a cruel man to send her away in a storm, Simon lets her stay and it turns out she has a good influence on Robert and his recovery. Soon Simon decides she is good for his son and his household so he offers her a marriage of convenience. An offer Phoebe accepts out of despair and because of her growing feelings for this gruff man and his son.
Simon is sort of an unsociable recluse with a temper. He’s rude and direct but he definitely has a softer side too. Especially when he opens up to Phoebe and lets her into his heart. His love for his son Robert and his sister Diana are also proof the fact that he is not totally devoid of compassion.
Phoebe is spirited, tenacious and has a big heart. She hasn’t had an easy life but despite the adversities she has brightness and life in her that is hard to ignore or put aside. This is something Simon soon discovers.
Simon and Phoebe both bring their own personal demons into their marriage of convenience and both of them want it for different reasons. Simon wants stability for his son and has trouble reconciling his budding feelings for Phoebe with the fact that she is a single woman living under his roof. Phoebe wants to get away from her stepfamily that demands a lot of her and give her nothing but grief in return. She too is starting to feel Simon is more to her than the father of a sick boy she’s taking care of. Inevitably the ultimate happy outcome has one and the same cause: love.
I loved the story between Simon and Phoebe. I could have gone on reading after the epilogue if possible. They, Robert and the relationship between them all captured me from the start. Simon and Phoebe complement each other perfectly. Their respective strong qualities neutralize the weak qualities in each other.
The story revolves around the developing relationship between Phoebe and Simon, Robert’s illness, Simon’s past and Phoebe’s family matters. Fluently written, with dilemmas that are easy to relate to and a thoroughly set up historical setting, I kept turning the pages until I reached the last page. This book brings the reader what it promises: a captivating historical tale of two people falling in love contrary to their initial intention of combining the practical with the pleasurable.
I thoroughly enjoyed how Michelle Styles brought the time period to life. I even learned a bit about building engines, but it was interlaced with the rest of the story in such a manner that it never took over the story. The characters and the romance felt real to me. Together with her knack for historical accuracy and the way she works historical facts and details into the book, this was another solid regency romance that will entice Regency romance lovers. The storyline depicts the lifestyle during this particular time period.
Michelle Styles writes Regency romance as it is meant to be: moving, fitting the time-period in historical details, plotlines and emotional conflict. I was enthralled by her writing style that reads easily but is far from boring. A style that’s supported by a solid historical background sending you back to the time she writes about and her descriptions are complementary rather than disrupting and further adding to the genuine sympathy provoked by the characters and their story.
Michelle Styles grabs the reader’s heart with her portrait of a wonderful couple. Simon’s gruffness is soon changed by Phoebe’s caring personality and in my eyes they were a perfect fit. Although it isn’t a gripping romance full of passion, as their love grows it allows for depth and development of both Simon and Phoebe. She gave me a beautiful portrayal of true romance and a marriage in which a man learns to trust again and leave the past behind.
When you pick up a Michelle Styles book you know you’re in for historical quality on a consistent and high level.