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Sauce for the Gander*

Forced Marriage and a Rogue Ready to Reform

This book opens dramatically with a duel between Will, the hero of the book, and a husband whom he has cuckolded. His father soon sends for him, angered by his son’s profligate ways. The earl has determined that Will will wed in the hopes of settling him down and gaining a few heirs as well as hoping to protect his younger daughters’ reputations by being besmirched by having a brother who is such a scalawag. He has arranged a marriage with a viscount’s son’s daughter, Connie. Conni has been treated more like a servant by her father, who is eager to marry her off and is quite pleased to have captured a viscount. The wedding is to take place in just a few days’ time.

The earl actually threatens Will into compliance while Connie consents because she is more afraid of what her life will be like if she refuses him. Both Will and Connie talk with the vicar and his wife about the coming nuptials. Connie, in particular, who has long been a friend of the couple, gets a lot of advice from the vicar’s wife.

I found this book to be an enjoyable read. There is dry humor throughout much of it, on both Will’s and Connie’s sides. In fact, before they even marry, I could sense—just like the vicar’s wife—that they would have much in common and get along well once they got past the initial circumstances of their forced marriage. Will, in some ways, in his cockiness reminds me of Ross Poldark. In fact, much of the book–with the secondary story around smuggling–is reminiscent of the Poldark story.

The earl had done some vetting of Connie before he agreed to the match, but he did so in front of her father, so she wasn’t entirely honest. Though she has been much put upon by her father, she is quietly willful in her own way. This is something her husband will come to appreciate.

The way that Will and Connie come to understand and better know each other was done naturally and organically. They both truly do have qualities that would appeal to the other. Connie appreciates—even if she doesn’t first fully believe—that Will is so different from her father. Will likes her intelligence, especially as she helps him manage the estate and as they try to figure out what precisely is going on in the old family house by the sea.

I found this Georgian romance to be a delight.

Here are two brief quotes to show you the dry wit in this book First, Will and his father:

The earl slammed one hand down on the desk. “You know it’s your duty to marry and get an heir, yet you have done nothing but gamble and whore your way through London since your brother died. I will wait no longer.”

That was unfair—he’d never had to pay for a lover.

And this between Constance and her father:

“Sit down, Constance. I have good news for you.”

That sounded ominous.