An Affair with a Notorious Heiress

Written by Lorraine Heath
Review by Ray Thompson

London, 1882. The Marquess of Rexton, heir to a dukedom, is not yet interested in marriage, but when a brash American asks him to pretend to court his niece in order to attract rival suitors, he agrees, tempted by the offer of stud services of a prize stallion. What he does not anticipate is his powerful physical attraction to her protective older sister, the scandalously divorced Lady Landsdowne. Since he insists upon a wife with an impeccable reputation, he desires only an affair, but how will this strong-willed woman react when she learns why he is courting her sister?

A resolution looks unlikely, but as their appreciation for each other moves beyond the merely physical to embrace other qualities, such as courage and thoughtfulness, love eventually triumphs. The comments upon double standards for men and women are apt, the protagonists are sympathetic, and both experience a difficult learning process. Unfortunately, the prolonged attention to their feelings for each other does become repetitive and slow down the plot. Recommended to those who relish physical preoccupations, prolonged soul-searching, and the struggle between passion and duty.