Cathy Maxwell returns to the blog today with the first in a new series, the Spinster Heiresses and what a start this book is! Please read on for my review of
If Ever I Should Love You
Cathy Maxwell has managed to surprise and delight me with this new title – taking two characters who are far from the norm and unafraid to be wholly unlikable on first impression and yet, somehow, are difficult to not want to see them find more and better. The season’s “spinster heiresses” are ostensibly ready and eager to wed: on the shelf just a touch too long, but with impeccable bloodlines and near-flawless reputations they are most eligible for their dowries. It is assumed in the tonne that these women are anxious to marry and end the merry-go-round of parties, balls, examinations and side-eye glances, not to mention pressure from family. That is, until Leonie. Beautiful, cautious and determined to never marry, she’s been clearly placed up for sale by her father, and unsupported by her faithless and often feckless mother. Years before she was nearly ruined in society’s eyes, until a gallant rescuer stepped in, and then life and other issues intervened. Now bored with the whole charade, she wants a life of self-determination and direction, free from the demands or constraints of marriage, particularly one like her parents have.
Oh Leonie is one of the most perplexing and contrary introductions to a character I’ve met in a long time. But, as we get to know her and see her secrets revealed as the relationship (or what passes for one) with her parents and the ‘model’ they set for her in a marriage, as well as some backstory and history all make most of her choices and reactions more understandable. Yes, she is frustrating and her naiveté fueled by seriously cynical expectations often feel overwrought –but considering her limited options, her experiences and her actual unfamiliarity with something different, added to her own worries about not being worthy of ‘more’, you can’t help but want to see things work for her with just the right man.
And perhaps that right man is in the form of Roman, impoverished Earl of Rochdale and savior of young Leonie’s reputation so long ago is just that man. He’s fully aware that he needs several things, most importantly money and a wife that amuses him while still being an appropriate choice for Countess. He remembers the beauty, Leonie, in fact he never forgot her – and while he knows marriage is inevitable and the sooner the better, he also wants to have a love connection. Imagine his surprise when news reaches him that the woman he never did forget is also available and the richest on offer. Oh they both have come so far since India –and neither’s path has been trouble free, but Roman is not to be denied. He remembers her, she confused, frustrated, amused, and intrigued him in equal measure: and it doesn’t seem that anything will be simple and straightforward. But, he’s going to get her to change her mind on so many things – and with quiet and steady progress, most of it forward, some of it arrogant and quite dismissive of Leonie’s wishes, she starts to see that these moments: good, bad or indifferent are starting to make an impression, an impression that is different from her usual cynical view of the world.
Maxwell has dealt with issues often ignored in most historical romance in a way that brings it new life. We know that women were little more than property – but by showing the blatant determination of her father to buy her a title at any cost this becomes a whole new outrage. The ridiculous constrictions placed on learning, living and self-determination, and the various choices that women of the time used to escape, if only through drink, the unhappiness and boredom of the ‘sameness’ of each day. Unique, a bit more somber and less light and fluffy than one may expect, this story was intriguing and engaging, even in moments where the characters frustrated me to the point of screaming. It will be interesting to see if the boldness in choices and characters continues in this series.
Title: If Ever I Should Love You
Author: Cathy Maxwell
Series: Spinster Heiresses #1
Genre: Historical Romance, Humor elements, Regency
Published by: Avon
Published on: 26 December, 2017
Source: Publisher Via Edelweiss
Audio Length: 7 Hours: 41 minutes
Heat: Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ Barnes&Noble ♦ iTunes ♦ Kobo ♦ Downpour ♦ IndieBound ♦ Book Depository ♦ Google ♦Audible
Once upon a time there were three young ladies who, despite their fortunes, had been on the Marriage Mart a bit too long. They were known as the “Spinster Heiresses” . . .
He’s inherited a title, but not a penny to speak of, so the Earl of Rochdale knows he must find a wife—preferably one tolerably pretty and good-tempered, but definitely wealthy, and willing to exchange her fortune for his family name.
His choice: Leonie Charnock, one of the season’s “Spinster Heiresses.” Years before, the earl had saved the dark-eyed beauty’s reputation, and she is still breathtakingly lovely, leading Rochdale to hope that their marriage will be more than in name only.
However, Leonie doesn’t want to be anyone’s wife. Nearly destroyed by the secrets in her past, Leonie agrees to their union with one condition: there will be a wedding but no bedding. But it’s a condition the new Countess Rochdale isn’t sure even she can keep . . .
A copy of this title was provided via Publisher Via Edelweiss for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.