The Secret Marriage Pact by Georgie Lee

The Secret Marriage Pact by Georgie Lee

Jane Rathbone is used to being left behind, and no longer believes she deserves happiness. But when childhood friend Jasper Charton returns from the Americas, more dangerously sexy than ever, she has a proposition. She’ll give him the property he needs if he’ll give her a new future—by marrying her! 

Jasper never imagined taking a wife, but wonders if loyal Jane could be his redemption. And when their marriage brings tantalising pleasures, convenient vows blossom into a connection that could heal them both…

The Secret Marriage Pact by Georgie Lee

Another review of this book is HERE.

I was in search of something fresh to read, so I gave The Secret Marriage Pact a go.

Set in 1825, shortly after the Regency, this is halfway between a friends-to-lovers and a reunion story, as the hero was sent to America at fifteen, leaving behind a heartbroken (slightly younger) heroine. They lost contact as the hero fell into his uncle’s gambling industry – which was promptly wiped out by a yellow fever outbreak in Savannah.

Now he is back and hiding the true source of his income from everyone but the heroine, who proposes a business deal with him if he’ll marry her.

My interest was piqued by the Fleet Street setting (Fleet Street was my first address when I lived in London). These characters live very comfortably, but they don’t have titles. This was a great change from the usual dukes and duchesses.

I actually liked the younger hero, as historical romance leads seem to be getting older and older, overlooking the fact younger people achieved plenty in the past, and mid-twenties was a perfectly acceptable age for a man to marry.

Something I could have done without was the mental lusting. I know it’s standard in historical romances (well, ALL romance!) these days, but I wasn’t buying it. Childhood friends part for years, meet again in their twenties, and just pick up where they left off – but now with lots of thoughts about the bedroom? I felt like we’d missed a step. There should have at least been some awkwardness and even anger between them first. They should have been more like strangers to each other at first.

I’d have liked to see two childhood friends fall in love, not just decide they were in lust from day one.

I did really like that this is part of a series, but instead of all the books happening in the space of a couple of years, the first book is set a decade earlier. It’s a nice idea, and a way to catch up with past heroes and heroines without it all being about pregnancies and babies.

A little niggle, but I didn’t like absence of adverbs in the dialogue/thoughts; a dearth of adverbs is a quirk of US English. E.g. characters should not be saying wide when it should be widely, and easy when it should be easily. It killed the “British” feel of it.

I liked so many of the ideas in this book, and the fact it made subtle changes to many of the favourite themes of historical romances.

However, I’d love to have seen this written with less in the way of I’m not worthy!, and I want sex!, and with more development of the connection between hero and heroine.

London – again.

I’m postponing my review of The Secret Marriage Pact until tomorrow.

It’s a little hard to pick and choose what tragedy to be sad about these days (I will point out that there’s been a severe escalation in fighting in Ukraine in the past couple of weeks – it’s not on the news).

However, I’m going to have to do a “Poor London” post #3 for the year, because of the fire yesterday.

I spent more than half of the time I lived in London renting not too far from where this disaster happened. You can see my street in the Notting Hill area (the curvy streets on the right) in the picture.

The nature of this event is shocking, as is the obvious corruption that helped to cause it.

At least 200 firefighters and 40 engines on the scene of a huge fire at Grenfell Tower in Latimer Road, near Notting Hill, in West London. 14th June 2017.

The Runaway Bride by Patricia Johns

The Runaway Bride (Harlequin Heartwarming) by Patricia Johns

Bernadette Morgan left her cheating fiancé moments before they were supposed to marry in the society wedding of the year. Now she’s stuck in Runt River, Ohio, with a broken-down car and a tattered wedding dress. All she wants is a place to hide. But what she finds are a handsome mechanic, a little boy and family secrets that could change everything. Because the toddler Liam Wilson’s raising is actually her cousin’s child. And she’ll do anything to protect him from her politically ambitious family, even if that means rejecting the possibility of love with Liam…

The Runaway Bride by Patricia Johns

Sometimes you read a book and are so impressed with the author’s writing skills. Patricia Johns has created such a “real” story, even if some of her characters are larger than life (the heroine is basically a celebrity), and that’s all down to her excellent writing.

I had one problem that isn’t the author’s fault – and it’s a big one:

How the hell do you take a book about American politics seriously now?!

Honestly, I went for this one because the cover appealed, even if the “runaway bride” isn’t really something that usually appeals to me. It always seems so frivolous.

However, this is actually a book about politics and affairs and cover-ups, and I think that the author handled it all really well without taking sides. The heroine is the daughter of a rich, politically ambitious family. She is both heiress to her family’s empire and a socialite, and the wedding she is fleeing is to a man who expects to run for US President in the future.

She runs to small-town Ohio, and there she finds both the mechanic hero and the toddler he is caring for – who turns out to be her blood relation but not his.

What I struggled with in this REALLY GOOD book was that it’s all about politicians (and these are Republicans) having to be “clean” – no scandals, plenty of family values… How can I possibly take this seriously when a thrice-married pussy-grabber is the current face of that “family values” party? This book is set in an alternate universe, and politically-themed books need to start representing the new, awful world we live in if I’m going to find them believable.

There is so much good here, though. The characterisations, the dialogue, the natural behaviours and not-black-and-white actions. The boy is such a realistic child – one of the best I’ve come across in a book.

I didn’t think the choice of “Bernie” was a good one for the heroine’s name. Because:

Bernie Sanders

Especially when it’s a book about *American* politics!

I did like the little touch of the hero panicking when the boy became ill, because healthcare is such a minefield in the US.

I could go back and forth nonstop, but what is comes down to is that this is a fantastic book – written at the wrong point in time!


Review copy provided by NetGalley.

The Week: 5th – 11th June

Canberra Australia Winter Evening Lake Burley Griffin Sonya Heaney 11th June 2017 National Carillon Reflection Nature SunsetIMG_2045

Sunday afternoon on the lake in Canberra. That’s Defence on the other side of the water, with the American Eagle statue.

Enjoying the winter sunshine on Tuesday morning.

The neighbour’s cat has basically moved in now. So much for her being timid!

The trip from Queanbeyan to Canberra on Friday anfternoon.

I read a couple of good books this week (not reviewed here yet). One was a contemporary story about the daughter of an overly ambitious US Republican family, and the other was set in 1825 London – but not about aristocrats. However, I’m really struggling to take books about American politics seriously now, considering what is going on at the moment.

Terrible week in the aftermath of the London Bridge attacks. I honestly don’t understand how a man can just walk up to some innocent young woman (or older man – you know what I mean) and murder her like that. Donald Trump’s childish, ignorant responses only added to the disgust we outside the US feel for him.

The anniversary of the Battle of Binh Ba

My review of A Tailor-Made Husband (Texas Grooms/Turnabout Book #9 (Love Inspired Historical) by Winnie Griggs

My review of The Second Seduction of a Lady (The Wild Quartet 0.5) by Miranda Neville

Another Behind the Scenes Cover Video

Oh, the subtlety!