This was a pleasant enough read until page 175. Sure, the heroine had some problems, but what happened after page 175 was enough to throw me completely out of the book and say to myself, “the author isn’t really going to go there, is she?”
Lord William Claridge, who is brother to a duke, has serious financial problems. He is a bit of a rake, and likes to spend money on horses. As his brother will no longer provide the funding he needs for his horses, Will’s only hope is to marry for money. Even if he and his wife do not suit, he determines, he can always leave her rusticating at his country home. His salvation appears in the form of American heiress Angelica Hamilton.
Angelica is an intelligent woman with suffragette leanings and is determined to achieve her dream of traveling to Tierra del Fuego to study Darwin’s teachings of natural selection. She is staying with her aunt Minnie in England. Although she’s glad to be away from Boston and her domineering and egotistical father, the endless functions of society are wearing thin. She is determined not to marry, as men want nothing more than to bend women to their will. In order to finance her trip to South America, Angelica decides to enlist Will in a scheme to sell her jewelry.
Will is an easy going sort who has no problem with listening to women or their ideas. He realized some time ago that, in fact, listening has helped his love life tremendously. He goes along with helping Angelica, since it will further his plan to ruin her in society so they will be forced to marry. He succeeds, although along the way he comes to care for Angelica deeply.
There was great sexual tension between Angelica and Will, and their courtship was humorous and rather fun. Aunt Minnie is nowhere near as oblivious as she seems, either. However, starting on the infamous page 175, the author decides to have to minor characters step in to create problems for the already married couple. Why? The marriage has already taken place. There was enough happening in the relationship between Will and Angelica to keep the reader interested.
From that point on, Angelica goes from being merely naive to incredibly stupid by continuing to believe that one of characters (whom even she considers nasty) will help her to get to South America out of the goodness of his heart. Will wants to focus on his race horses, and instead of having an adult conversation, Angelica decides that he is just like all other men who want to control women. Aunt Minnie has to step in and solve the problem for them; is she going to do that every time they disagree over serious issues?
Will goes through more internal changes than Angelica does, moving from a selfish fortune hunter to someone who truly loves his wife. Although I liked him, I could not imagine why he came to love Angelica, as she remains immature and foolish right up until the end of the book.
Though I’m not a stickler for accuracy, the author’s continual and mistaken reference to Will as Lord Claridge rather than Lord William grated. This is an error that could have easily been researched and corrected – copy editors, are you listening?
This book would have fared much better had the author kept the focus on the relationship between Angelica and Will, and left out the external plot devices. A better heroine is also in order, preferably one that has some sense to match her intelligence.