RogerBW's Blog

A Wicked Kind of Husband, Mia Vincy 02 December 2020

2018 American Regency-ish romance, part of a loosely linked series. Cassandra has been married for two years, and has only met her husband once; it was arranged by her father and neither partner wanted anything more than the legalities. But now she has her sisters to launch into society, and she'll have to use his London house to do it…

So, well, this is a romance, so you know the outline of what the ending will be. And since romance audiences tend to be conventional, chances are it'll be "she forms a loving relationship with her husband" rather than "she ditto with someone more interesting".

But there's a lot of baggage to be got through first: he expected to be the heir but was revealed as a bastard (father's previous wife was still alive after all), was abandoned, and worked his way up from the factory to become a rich industrialist, he's lost a wife and a son and feels he has no time for anything but his work, and he's being accused of adultery by a foolish investor; meanwhile she has an uncontrollable sister and another who hates her (and another who's married but for some reason isn't involved in the story at all), and a mother who's a laudanum addict, and the chap who jilted her, and a dead brother, and the secret about her father's death…

"Did you come here to philosophize at me? If I wanted philosophy, I would consult the works of someone more…" He sought the right word. "Dead."

Yeah. Lots of baggage. But mostly they're at it like rabbits and gradually falling in love while each of them is thinking the other is only doing their duty and won't want to hang around later.

It's the banter that has left most impression, and that I enjoyed most; there's good verbal fencing here, of a style I don't often see. On the other hand the book would be a whole lot shorter if they'd just talk to each other about their feelings, even a little bit. And he makes a lot more compromises than her to leave them in the same place as each other; it works, just about, but it doesn't feel solid.

In the end I like the people and the wit. The story is, well, quite a standard form, and it's executed with some distinct imperfections; I'd certainly call this fluff, but it's enjoyable fluff.

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Previous in series: A Dangerous Kind of Lady | Series: Longhope Abbey

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