Left orphaned and penniless as a young child, Lucy Jones learned to curb her temper, her passions, and even her sense of humor to placate the wealthy relatives who took her in. She became the perfect poor relation--meek, quiet, and self-effacing. She clings to her self-control because she can control nothing else.A Marriage of Inconvenience by Susanna Fraser is the story of how orphaned and penniless Lucy Jones and Viscount James-Wright Gordon end up married despite the vast differences that separate them, including their own feelings. This is also the prequel to The Sergeant's Lady and it gives the readers the background to Anna's story.
James Wright-Gordon also lost his parents at a young age. But he became a wealthy viscount at fifteen and stepped into full control of his fortune and his birthright as a parliamentary power broker at twenty-one. At twenty-four, he is serenely confident in his ability to control everything in the world that matters to him.
At a house party in the summer of 1809, James quickly discerns Lucy’s carefully hidden spirit and wit and does his best to draw them out. After being caught in a compromising situation, they are obliged to marry. But can two people whose need for control has always been absolute learn to put love first?
I loved the first part of this book where the author depicts the interactions between the cast of characters, and conveys how 1809's society viewed both marriage and money through actions and discourse. The meetings between our protagonists James and Lucy, Lucy's interactions with her family, and the contempt with which she is treated by them as one who is less fortunate are all scenes that the reader can almost see in their minds eye because they are so well detailed by the writer. Those are the scenes that impacted me the most.
Lucy is pretty near at the bottom of the social scales, as she has no fortune and lives on her family's charity. On the other hand, James is a wealthy viscount whose father earned his money while working in India. The fact that Lucy is dependent on her family plays a big role in this romance. Even after her much admired cousin Sebastian offers marriage, their engagement is kept secret and Lucy is often ignored or humiliated with the exception of her new friends James and Anna.
The romance between James and Lucy is actually quite lovely. It develops from a new and tentative friendship into what amounts to an unrecognized courtship. I loved their interactions during this part of the story and up to the point when the two are caught in a compromising situation. A situation where Lucy is quite the willing participant. Once that happens, James plays the gentleman and offers marriage on the spot.
Once James and Lucy marry, the focus of the story changes and although the couple is happy in many ways, the conflict shifts to that of trust and control. This is all right, however, part of this trust issue is all about Lucy letting go of herself sexually. This became frustrating, not only for poor James but for this reader as well -- however, I do believe other readers might really enjoy this section. Once that happened, the story picks up again with a well done resolution to conflicts where angst becomes part of the equation.
When it comes to secondary characters, Anna and Sebastian were the main draw. These two characters really caught my attention and I couldn't wait to read their story. Sebastian was such an ass that I couldn't wait to see what happened to Anna in her own story... so I picked up The Sergeant's Lady immediately after reading this book.
A Marriage of Inconvenience is an enjoyable historical romance read. The story is a bit uneven with an excellent beginning and first half, a frustrating middle, and a good resolution. The story ends with a sweet and satisfying epilogue.
Category: Historical Romance
Publisher/Release Date: Carina Press/April 11, 2011 - Kindle Edition
Visit Susanna Fraser here.
The Sergeant's Lady
A Marriage of Inconvenience