Desert Isle Keeper
The Temporary Wife / A Promise of Spring
The Temporary Wife is one of those perfect romances, where the emphasis is on romance rather than a lot of extracurricular activity. And within the scope of the category-sized story, Balogh delivers a master class on how to write a Marriage of Convenience plot.
Anthony Earheart, the Marquess of Staunton looks for a wife under the guise of advertising for a governess. He interviews a meek woman with a quiet voice who’s well past her first bloom of youth, and offers her marriage wife on the spot. Staunton is bent on revenge and wants to marry a nobody in order to spite his father. Staunton’s whole family is set against him, because many years ago, he left home in high dudgeon and in disgrace.
Charity Duncan is opinionated but desperately wants to please. Her father has left her and her siblings destitute and encumbered with debts, so she knows she needs to make a good impression if she is to secure the post. She is stunned at the windfall that greets her: a title, a marriage in name only, a quick separation, and an income of six thousand pounds a year. She accepts Stauton’s offer without hesitation. And so they embark on their mad adventure, each with trepidation in their hearts but stalwart resolution in their purpose.
I loved seeing how Charity, with her tender concern and her innate sense of fairness and goodness, starts to turn the family members towards each other while drawing closer to Anthony at the same time. All is not smooth sailing, however. Emotions run high, and Anthony has a tendency to run roughshod over those who oppose him. But by degrees, he starts paying attention to Charity, and by osmosis, her calm and goodness seep through his defenses. This is such a lovely book!
Grade: A Sensuality: Subtle
A Promise of Spring is a fabulous story of a young ingénue, a marriage of convenience, and a spouse who is ten years older – but the hero is the young innocent and the heroine the older and more experienced of the two. This book is a true commentary on how a couple, who’ve known each other peripherally but are now yoked together, negotiates marriage.
Peregrine Lampman is society’s golden boy, flirtatious with women both young and old and always ready with a quip and a smile. But when his closest friend dies, he offers marriage to his sister, a stoic, unemotional woman ten years older than he is. He doesn’t balk from his decision even when she tells him that she had previously had a child out of wedlock who subsequently died.
Grace and Perry grow to respect each other, find comfort in each other, and learn to love each other. Love doesn’t always have to be accompanied by earthshattering passion; a quiet love where the participants are mutually satisfied, but have much in common outside the bedroom and hold each other in trust is a beautiful thing to behold. A Promise of Spring is a gentle story where the emphasis is on all the work that goes into making a marriage of equals, where jealousy and possessiveness play no part. It is supplanted by a belief in the other person’s right to choose what they want to do in life even when a figure from Grace’s past reappears and looms ominously over their happiness.
This is a powerful, powerful story with moments of such tenderness. A must read!
Grade: A Sensuality: Subtle
Both The Temporary Wife and A Promise of Spring are two previously-published books that have been reprinted in an omnibus edition. They’re quintessential traditional Regencies and by such a talented author; I loved the time I spent reading them and plan to re-read soon.