Grandmother, grandmother, who shall it be
Who shall it be who will marry me?
Duke, Earl, a powerful marquess?
When my heart is given to Fyclan Morris…
In New York Times bestselling author Cathy Maxwell's new novella, beautiful Jennifer Tarleton has no lack of noble suitors, but the only man who captures her attention is the one her father will never let her marry: Fyclan Morris. He's a brash adventurer, witty, courageous…and Irish! Even worse, her father blames her for their reversal of fortune…
And it's a fortune—or rather, his grandmother the fortune teller—who foretold that Fyclan would meet "the one,", a love prophesied in the stars. He vows nothing will stand in the way of making Jennifer his bride, but is the price too high? Or is a thing called love worth every challenge?
Charming and engaging, this is a wonderful introduction to a new series.
I’ve only read one title by this author (Nightingale) which I really enjoyed, and the opportunity to start a new series from the beginning was too good to pass up. Maxwell manages to dance the very delicate line that all historic romance writers face: how far from conventional societal norms dare they stray before completing a story that is simply ‘set’ in the period, not at all relating to it. Her stories incorporate history, conventional attitudes and behaviors that feel real and plausible, but are twisted up for the modern reader, easy to relate to but still carrying that sense of quaintness that harkens to another era.
In this story, Jennifer Tarleton is a renowned beauty with no lack of suitors, but a very uncomfortable life. Her sisters resent her looks, her father sees her as little more than a puzzle piece to settle his debts and she wants nothing more than to curl up with a good book. She’s been told, for years, that her heart is weak and children are a dream she’d best give up, and while she wants a life of her own, she doesn’t see any potential.
Fyclan Morris is a lowly Irish born man, adventurous and daring, he’s made a name for himself. Years earlier his grandmother, a gypsy woman with fae tendencies, predicted he was destined for greatness, with his children’s children being titled nobility. But first, he must meet ‘the one’, for the prophecy to fulfill. A chance encounter with Jennifer drops “the one’ in front of him, and he realizes he must do all he can to marry her.
Used to being fobbed off as “just another pretty face” Jennifer is charmed by the Irishman who seems to see what’s behind her beauty: charming her, discussion ideas with her, making her consider the possibilities. But, her father’s disdain for all Irish, and Fyclan in particular, have her conflicted. Can she disobey and refuse her father’s demands to marry ‘well’, while taking a chance on marrying for love?
With a courtship that is mostly on paper via letters hidden in books from a lord’s lending library, both characters grow in their determination to flout convention and reach for their own desires. Beautifully plotted and fast paced, this story reads more like a novel: characters are precisely presented, the conflict is immediate, and the resolution is so very sweet. Charming and engaging, this is a wonderful introduction to a new series.
I received an eArc copy from the publisher via Edelweiss for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.