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The Aristocrat's Charade*

An Unlikely Couple Embroiled in Mystery and Romance

This novel turns some Regency romance tropes on their proverbial ears. I love how in the prologue Ophelia, the heroine, was quite pleased when her noble suitor, Peter, broke off their courtship after only two weeks. She, too, believed they were ill-suited. So imagine her surprise when the next day, I think, he is back and requesting that they resume their courtship. He is actually quite adamant about it, but she resists until her aunt insists that she should give him a second chance after he spouts a flowery declaration. His attempts to woo her back (and her reaction to it) made me smile as it was quite humorous What Ophelia doesn’t know, and Peter doesn’t say for quite a while, is that her fickle suitor has received a threat against his brother unless he continues the courtship and even marries her. When he does reveal his reason, Ophelia understands and wants to help. As they try to unravel the mystery, will this become a real courtship?

Like some of this author’s other works, I found the language in this one to be stilted at times; the attempt to sound “historical” yet realistic doesn’t always work. There were some pretty big informational dumps at the start of the book, both on Ophelia’s side as well as Peter’s. However, I found this intriguing plot to be just different enough from the common Regency ones that I could pass over these issues and still enjoy the twists and turns of the suspense plot (and the budding romance), as the couple eventually worked together to figure out who was threatening his brother. I ended up enjoying this book more than I imagined I would!