Set in New York City’s Gilded Age, Joanna Shupe’s first book in her Four Hundred series features an English beauty with a wicked scheme to win the man she loves—and the American scoundrel who ruins her best laid plans…
Lady Honora Parker must get engaged as soon as possible, and only a particular type of man will do. Nora seeks a mate so abhorrent, so completely unacceptable, that her father will reject the match—leaving her free to marry the artist she loves. Who then is the most appalling man in Manhattan? The wealthy, devilishly handsome financier, Julius Hatcher, of course….
Julius is intrigued by Nora’s ruse and decides to play along. But to Nora’s horror, Julius transforms himself into the perfect fiancé, charming the very people she hoped he would offend. It seems Julius has a secret plan all his own—one that will solve a dark mystery from his past, and perhaps turn him into the kind of man Nora could truly love.
Shupe (the Knickerbocker Club series) takes readers back to the Gilded Age of 19th-century New York in the enjoyable debut of her Four Hundred series. After Lady Honora "Nora" Parker's father learns of her unsuitable relationship with penniless artist Robert Landon, he sends her away from her home in England to live with her aunt and uncle in New York and find an appropriate husband. Nora devises a plan to find a most unsuitable fianc so that her father will relent and allow her to return to England to marry Robert. She settles on Julius Hatcher, a wealthy financier known for his outlandish parties and scandalous liaisons with actresses. Julius agrees to pose as Nora's fake fianc in exchange for her assisting him in his quest to enter New York upper-crust society. He's astonished to feel intense attraction and come to admire her. When the romance sizzles between Nora and Julius, the barriers of their arrangement begin to fall away. Mystery simmers in the background as Julius searches for the unknown men he believes drove his father to suicide. Shupe has expertly developed her winning protagonists to reveal great depth of character.