After graduating from British finishing school, an American heiress fulfills her duty and weds a destitute earl. A lie brought them together, but will it also tear them apart? Find out in this can't-miss Victorian marriage-of-convenience story from a compelling new voice in historical romance.
Victoria Carson never expected love. An American heiress and graduate of Lady Grantham's finishing school, she's been groomed since birth to marry an English title—the grander the better. So when the man chosen for her, the forbidding Earl of Dunnley, seems to hate her on sight, she understands that it can't matter. Love can have no place in this arrangement.
Andrew Hargrave has little use for his title and even less for his cold, disinterested parents. Determined to make his own way, he's devoted to his life in Italy working as an archaeologist. Until the collapse of his family's fortune drags him back to England to a marriage he never wanted and a woman he doesn't care to know.
Wild attraction is an unwanted complication for them both, though it forms the most fragile of bonds. Their marriage of convenience isn't so intolerable after all—but it may not be enough when the deception that bound them is finally revealed.
Book one of The Grantham Girls
Amelia Wheeler is the next Grantham Girl to rebel against family obligation in A COMMON SCANDAL.
A dutiful heiress and a bankrupt earl marry as strangers but become ardent lovers in this passionate launch of the Grantham Girls late Victorian series, the first historical from contemporary romance author Weaver. In 1891 London, Victoria Carson is responsible and well prepared for her wifely duties. Love is not part of her arranged marriage to Andrew Hargrave, but Victoria needs to be free of her social-climbing mother. Andrew, Earl of Dunnley, is heir to a vast, insolvent estate and a title he despises; he wants only to continue his archeological work in Italy with his mistress. Their fathers force the marriage as part of a secret wager. After the wedding night, Andrew leaves for Italy, leaving Victoria feeling shocked, lonely, and rejected. Over time, as they confront secrets, lies, family travails, and loss, Victoria and Andrew struggle to trust each other and leave behind their unhappy childhoods. Weaver's picturesque period settings and attention to the nuances of the class system enhance the patina of her well-written, pleasingly British romance.
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Loved this story and how the characters evolved to a state of romance. Interesting and well written.
Laden with history, background and some truly clever moments
The first in a new series, Amanda Weaver combines the “Golden Age” American heiresses in the marriage game in London. Back with the influx of wealth and power in the states, nothing said “I have arrived” then securing a titled groom for your daughter (or daughters). Entitled homes are notoriously expensive to maintain, and the flagging British economy meant that while marrying for advantage (and dowry) was commonplace for the male aristos, real wealth in the UK was diminishing and they had to expand their search. From purely mercenary motivations to small moments of love and true connection all the way through to the later years when American debs were captivating the boys with beauty, wit and charm, the stories are never-ending.
Weaver introduces us to Victoria, a recent graduate of Lady Grantham’s Finishing school: destined to provide the polish and skills that any wife of a peer would need. From a tumultuous relationship with her mother, and little to no say in her future, Vic is expected a proposal as the season ends. But, an arrangement is agreed upon by her parents, and she is finding herself the unwilling betrothed of the unexpected newly titled Earl of Dunnley, Andrew. A second son from the wrong side of the blanket, he’s freely followed his own interests and passions, and spent years abroad, only to be recalled and informed of the distasteful union.
These two instantly assumed the worst of one another, and leaving Vic to fend for herself at the country estate was a perfect set up to show her growth and give him time to cool down. From a slow start providing background that does fuel all to come, Victoria is growing up and becoming a true peer’s wife and estate manager, much to Andrew’s surprise. He doesn’t want to find her admirable or desirable, but her passion, honesty and determination win the day. Told in alternating POV, we see the gradual sullen acceptance turn to regard and later love as these two come to make a marriage out of seeming incompatibility.
Secondary characters, insets of daily struggles and a clear presentation of expectations versus desires for both Andrew and Victoria add layers of unexpected and wholly welcome depth to the story. Laden with history, background and some truly clever moments that have you desperately seeking a happy ending for Victoria, this is a story to experience and savor, a truly wonderful start to a new series.
I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.