Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Brides of Fortune Series by Nicola Cornick

There are three books in this series, the final installment, The Undoing of a Lady, is not out until August. There was also an e-book prequel that I did not read.
I picked the first book, Confessions of a Duchess, because the cover was not ridiculous, and you know how I am about those Romance book covers. I guess I'm not self-assured enough to flaunt them. (Although my SIL has very kindly given me a gift that solves that problem nicely!)
Confessions of a Duchess is about a widow who moves to a small village, Fortune's Folly with her three-year-old daughter after the death of her awful husband. Shortly after moving in, the Lord (?) of the village decides he needs money and revives a medeval tax on all maidens - he get's half their fortune! So now all the poor young men in the area are arriving in Fortune's Folly to snag a rich bride. While out and about, Laura runs into an old "acquaintance" after she almost drowns in a boating incident. Seems she had a torrid one night affair with this gentleman four years ago. She's tried to put it out of her mind and move on, but she cannot stop thinking about him. Dexter is a law-enforcement-type man who is in Fortune's Folly searching for a wanted criminal and cannot believe Laura is there. He has not forgotten her over the four years and dreams of her often. They proceed to avoid each other as much as possible but keep getting thrown into situations where they are alone together and cannot help reacting! She is keeping secrets from him that he must never find out (of course he does) and there is a happy ending to this story.
Two of the supporting characters from this story, Alice - a rich woman who used to be a servant but inherited her employer's fortune, and Miles, a rake of the worst kind, also a law-enforcement-type guy with Dexter. In Confessions, Miles had expressed in Alice, and she was interested in Miles, until he left her to pursue a richer woman in another village, then took up with a mistress. She promptly wrote to him and told him to never contact her again. As luck would have it, he caught her attempting to steal a wedding dress from a shop that had gone out of business. The dress had been paid for, but the contents of the shop were being held for creditors. Dexter used the threat of exposure of the theft to blackmail Alice into marrying him. There was a catch, however. According to the terms of her inheritance, he had to prove to her solicitors for three months that he was an honorable man and worthy of her hand in marriage. So she hates him and he only wants her to use her inheritance to pay off his debts passed down to him by his father or he will end up in jail. There are many side stories and intrigue as these two grow in affection for each other.
I enjoyed both of these books and would like to read the third, Undoing of a Lady, when it comes out next month. While I will not put them in my "keep" pile, they were entertaining and fun.


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