Charis Michaels comes to the blog today with the first in her new Victorian-era historic romance
Any Groom Will Do
Set in the years just before Victoria’s ascendancy, this is the tale of Willow and Brent and their unlikely path to a happily ever after. Since an illness changed the course of her life as a child, Willow has been fascinated with designing and beauty. While she has decided she’ll never marry, she does want to join her aunt and uncle in their business – the preeminent interior designers in London’s Belgravia. As a single woman, however, and forbidden by both society and her mother to proceed to London to take up a position, she’s decided, along with her two best friends, to place an advertisement. This advertisement will allow the women, with the respectable title of Mrs., to escape their situations in return for absent husbands who will avail themselves of sizeable dowries in return for the woman’s freedom. Of course, the whole scheme is orchestrated by Willow, the list-maker, cover every eventuality, boldly dreaming of a life of self-determination personality in the group.
Brent, Duke of Cassin has been struggling to get a business venture with his two best friends off the ground. A bit of a desperate struggle as his estate’s former money-maker was coal mining, and the dangers to lives for so little actual return had him desperate for other options. With his two university friends and a Caribbean Island won in a poker game, as well as a seaworthy ship and plenty of desire. Facing failing his mother and sisters, and his uncle’s persistent pestering, he spotted Willow’s advertisement and decided to take a chance to discover more. Face to face with Willow, Brent is alternately horrified by her plan and impressed with her preparation, her boldness and her intelligence. Two days in her company, and Brent can’t see straight – he agrees and dashes off to make arrangements, plans and head for the new business venture.
These two are adorably well-suited: intelligent, stubborn, determined and sure of their own frailties – never once thinking that it is the things they feel the most vulnerable and unable to solve are the pieces that make them human and so wonderfully vulnerable to the emotions they both have agreed to ignore and tamp down in this arrangement. Willow is far more controlled and determined in keeping distance, knowing herself and the potential of developing feelings for Brent, she’s not allowing (or not admitting to allowing) her mind to want him. Brent is completely taken off guard: he desires her yet can’t stop thinking about her and how to keep her safe and protected from half a world away: he’s confused by her pushing him away, and can’t quite reconcile the desire with his growing esteem – and to have both rejected, is too much. Fortunately, with a crisis that only can resolve itself with his return, he rushes to Willow’s London quarters upon his arrival back in England, before heading off to his Yorkshire home to sort out the issues. The time apart had given both he and Willow the opportunity to muse, digest and recognize the love between them, and with that and little else, the challenges are many. Charis Michaels started this series with a wonderful read in one sitting couple, a lovely family and epilogue, and plenty of story to come with her two friends in the scheme, this will be a favorite of many.
Title: Any Groom Will Do
Author: Charis Michaels
Genre: Historical Romance, Setting: Britain, Victorian
Published by: Avon Impulse
Published on: 13 February, 2018
Source: Publisher Via Edelweiss
Heat: Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ Barnes&Noble ♦ iTunes ♦ Kobo ♦ Google
Lady Wilhelmina “Willow” Hunnicut has always dreamed of leaving tranquil Surrey for sights and sounds London. She is a talented designer and has aspirations as grand as London’s finest mansions. But an unmarried heiress dare not relocate to the capital city alone, and her parents have forbidden the move. A married woman, however, may come and go as she pleases, not a hint of scandal. With this in mind, Lady Willow writes an advertisement that offers her dowry to potential husbands as bait. She is determined to conveniently marry any man who will give her his name and then otherwise walk, ride, or sail away.
Lord Brent Caulder, the Earl of Cassin, lives in one of the last-remaining castles in Yorkshire, but it is a castle in decline. The tenants are listless and destitute, his mother and sisters are barely getting by. It’s Cassin’s fault, unfortunately, because he’s sealed the dangerous mines that have brought the earldom prosperity for generations. Now he must discover a safe alternative or his people will starve.
Relief comes in the form of an advertisement from a London investor. But when the “investor” is revealed to be a young woman and the money her dowry, Cassin must decide if he’s desperate enough to marry a stranger. The deal hinges on one stipulation: bride and groom will go their separate ways after the wedding and never look back.
When a family crisis forces the estranged couple to travel home to Yorkshire, Cassin seeks aid and solace from the new wife he barely knows. Lady Willow embraces the heated attraction that sizzles between them, and Cassin comes to see her as more than a financial backer, he falls in love with her as his wife.
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.