(from our review) Shortly after turning down Cam’s proposal nine years earlier, Penelope seized the opportunity to join an eccentric aunt on a trip to the Continent, and then settled with her in Italy. But the aunt has recently died, and in order to fulfil a promise made to Pen’s dying brother, Cam must find her and take her home. He traces Pen to a shabby inn somewhere in the Italian Alps, where he finds her being accosted by a group of nasty Italian bandits. Fortunately, Cam turns up in time to rescue his damsel, guns blazing, in a very “movie hero” moment, which I have to say, Ms Campbell does rather well. The problem is that Penelope doesn’t want to go back home. England is too confining for a young woman with more than half a brain and she has no intention of going back there to be suffocated by society’s do’s and don’ts. But she can’t refuse her brother’s last wish and the pair set off for England. Because Pen can’t travel with Cam unchaperoned, they have no alternative but to travel as a married couple and almost make it back without anyone being aware of their deception. But on the final stage of their journey, during a stormy Channel crossing, their ship is seriously damaged and Cam and Pen barely escape with their lives. Once rescued, back on land and ensconced at an inn, they are assumed to be married – and this time, there is no way they will get away with the pretense. Pen is adamant that she doesn’t want to marry Cam, knowing that being married to a man who will never love her will all but destroy her. But she can’t bear to see him surrounded by scandal and gossip when he’s worked so hard all his life to avoid it, so she agrees to his request and marries him, deciding that she will try to become the sort of demure, biddable duchess he wants.
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Grade: B-Check Review