Daisies and Devotion (Proper Romance Mayfield Family Regency)
Impoverished Timothy Mayfield seeks a wealthy wife; Maryann Morrington has a substantial inheritance but is not as pretty as some younger debutantes. Impressed by his honesty (and charm), she offers him encouragement, and prospects for both look hopeful until Timothy’s uncle offers him a modest inheritance should he marry sensibly. Freed from financial constraints, he decides to search for his ‘ideal wife’. Maryann does not make the cut.
The characters are well drawn, their interaction is involving, and the echoes of Jane Austen add richness. The main strength of this Regency romance, however, is the exploration of the problems that face both men and women in finding a suitable partner. Not easy in any age, but particularly in the 19th century when opportunities for meaningful interaction and frank discussion were strictly limited in the upper class and the consequences of misjudgment dire.
Timothy is fortunate to realize eventually that Maryann possesses the most important qualities to make him happy, but he comes perilously close to losing her. Her reluctance to trust him after he confesses his error and proposes does seem excessive, but it arises from insecurity and painful experience. Highly recommended.