Another delicious Bedwyn brother! And once again, we meet the Duke of Bewcastle, with his cold, silent devotion to his family.
We all know that virtually every steamy Regency romance takes liberties with the truth -- there couldn't have been that many gently-bred ladies in the ton
willing to give up their virtue outside of marriage. But we enjoy these stories anyway.
Nevertheless, the story of Judith Law's initial encounter with Lord Rannulf Bedwyn was somehow more believable, and more poignant, than most. She was facing (she quite reasonably believed) a lifetime of drudgery as something little more than a servant, with no prospects for love, marriage, and a family of her own. Indeed, as a dowerless poor relation, even marriage without love was beyond her dreams. Imagine then, the temptation she felt when a handsome, charming stranger desires her even though she is (again, as she had been led to believe) ugly and undesirable. She can have this man, enjoy this experience, and no one will ever know. (Of course, if there was a baby, her life would be ruined, but then it was practically ruined anyway.) I found her plight very touching indeed.
The rest of the story takes us off into Romancelandia, with more than a nod to Cinderella and a Darcyish marriage proposal. It's all lots of fun.
Now I'm off to see whether the hateful Lady Freyja can become a lovable heroine in Slightly Scandalous