A Fraudulent Betrothal
In Regency England, identical twins Clarissa and Marianne Meredew are faced with a tough decision – only one of them will have a season in London. A little wistful, Clarissa declines her right as first-born to allow the bubblier Marianne to go.
Left behind in the countryside, Clarissa wonders if she should give in to the attentions of the local rector, for lack of any other offers. Her sister’s letters tell her about Marianne’s successes in London. The girl seems to have a plethora of admirers. Soon, news of Marianne’s engagement to the rich Lord Richard Leighton reaches her. Clearly, life could not get any better for her twin. Then Marianne goes missing.
Clarissa is determined to discover what happened to her and agrees to step into her shoes. Literally. In London, she even manages to fool Marianne’s friends. Yet when Marianne’s fiancé returns early from his travels, discovering a changed woman, Clarissa has to face another dilemma: Richard falls in love with her. Clarissa doesn’t have the heart to tell him the truth. Guilt consumes her as she realises her own strong feelings. He is engaged to her sister, after all. Their attraction growing, obvious to all around them, can Clarissa keep her secret from him? And where is Marianne? As Clarissa digs deeper, she suddenly finds her life in danger.
Natasha Andersen writes with plenty of knowledge of the era. The plot is intriguing although a little obvious at times. Clarissa’s character is developing throughout the story, yet she lacks the depth that Richard’s character brings to it. A stronger Clarissa would have made their relationship just a little more challenging.
This novel is an enjoyable, light read for a rainy Sunday afternoon.