A Counterfeit Betrothal

Grade : A-

A Counterfeit Betrothal is currently available in a combined edition with A Notorious Rake which we reviewed when it first came out and gave an A.

Lady Sophia’s parents (Marcus and Olivia, the Earl and Countess of Clifton) have been estranged since she was four. She knows that only a major event, such as her own betrothal, could possibly put them in the same location long enough to possibly reunite. Sophia’s longtime neighbor and childhood tormentor, bored socialite Lord Francis Sutton, nominates himself as her fake beloved. But Marcus and Olivia’s separation is complicated. Will they resolve it before the clock ticks down and Francis and Sophia’s fake engagement is forced to become real?

Unlike some A- grades, where one thing holds a  book back, this book performs consistently at 90%. Sophia is youthful and ditzy, and while it’s funny to watch her lose track of the fake nature of her engagement (she wonders if they might invite her parents to Christmas, or to the christening of their first child), she comes across as – well, an airhead. Francis, by contrast, is a delight, dryly reality-checking Sophia as she spins out fantasies. His ultimate response as the wedding approaches the point of no return is hilarious and satisfying.

While Francis and Sophia are comic relief, Olivia and Marcus are more mature and realistic characters. Marcus made a terrible mistake, and Olivia couldn’t find a way to live with a man who had done such a thing. I appreciated that both of them adored their daughter and put her first. The conversations they have as they decide whether or not to approve Sophia’s sudden engagement – coming to terms with the fact that she has become an adult, and that they must respect her choices – are truthful to parenting. I just wish they hadn’t wasted so many years.

We have reviewed over seventy (!!!) titles by Mary Balogh, so imagine my surprise when I realized that we didn’t have one for A Counterfeit Betrothal in the database. Don’t miss this funny, touching Balogh classic.

Buy it at: Amazon or your local independent retailer

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Caroline Russomanno

I'm a history geek and educator, and I've lived in five different countries in North America, Asia, and Europe. In addition to the usual subgenres, I'm partial to YA, Sci-fi/Fantasy, and graphic novels. I love to cook.

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