New York Times bestselling author Jane Feather again delights with her new book in this entrancing Georgian trilogy featuring three noble brothers who are offered a preposterous opportunity to restore their family’s mortgaged lands. An eccentric uncle promises a lavish inheritance, but only if each marries—thus redeeming—a fallen woman. And if even one brother fails to fulfill the old man’s decree, none will gain the windfall.Yes, I did it again. I read the second and not the first in a trilogy. *snicker* In this trilogy an uncle in charge of a vast fortune decided to make things horrid for three brothers by requiring each to wed a woman deemed "fallen", someone not worthy of an earl's station before he dies. However, as you might suspect, this actually opens up the field for the brothers to find their true love and not have to be held by tradition to marry someone they don't even care about. So, as you see... even though I haven't read the first book, it still reads enough as a stand-alone as each brother's tale is in each book.
Lady Serena Grantley was born to the nobility, but fortune's whim placed her in control of her gamester stepfather, who uses her beauty to lure young men to his gambling tables. Serena even dismissed her first love, the Honorable Sebastian Sullivan, at her stepfather's command. But when he attempts to force her into a liaison with a dissolute earl, Serena resolves to do his bidding no more. Sebastian is the only man who ever captured her heart, and it is to him she turns. . . .
Torn between family loyalty and the woman he loves, Sebastian faces a devilish dilemma. His uncle is ailing, and time is running short. Desperate to find a solution, Sebastian conceives a dangerous plan—a wager that could bring him and Serena happiness at last . . . or separate them forever.
In the beginning, I admit I had a bit of trouble getting into the book, it was just too descriptive. However, after a couple of chapters things started to flow a bit easier until we meet some of the dirty old man characters after Serena as a mistress. It took me most of the book to finally sort out the boy's uncle with another character who held the mortgages. They were often placed side by side and both were disgusting in their vision of Serena. I also did not take to Sebastian, Serena's intended. It seemed that he was dense and could not completely grasp the horror Serena had endured with her step-father. He acknowledged it and yet, his actions spoke differently. He would understand why she couldn't abide by a man commanding her but he would still try to force her compliance. So, no... I didn't care for Sebastian.
Serena, on the other hand, I did like immensely. She was strong despite all her step-father had done. He had tried to break her often. Even to the point of selling her body without her knowledge and drugging her. Still she persevered. She had a plan of escape but it had to take time. And even though she could have been selfish, she was not. She tried to help any woman she found caught in her step-father's web and was often successful.
In the end, I give this book 3 stars. I have to say the stars were elevated because of Serena. I enjoyed her character more than any other. Despite it's flaws, if you enjoy historical romance or even the period costumes, you will enjoy the book. The costumes had very detailed descriptions which was fun to read.
I was given this book by Simon and Schuster and no compensation was received.