Carolyn Torrington has had a crush on Lucas, Lord Foxhaven, since childhood. Nevertheless she turns down his proposal, knowing it’s a condition his father imposed on him to get his inheritance. Like Lochinvar, Lucas rides his horse into a ballroom and kidnaps Carolyn, determined to ruin her reputation if necessary to get her to marry him. As added inducement, Lucas suggests a sexless “marriage of convenience” to be terminated by annulment at either party’s request with “no regrets” once he gets his money. Knowing he cannot possibly love a woman as large and unattractive as she, Caro, whose fortune was recently lost during France’s Reign of Terror, agrees. Of course, Lucas does love Caro, but believing she couldn’t love a scoundrel like himself, he never tells her.
This “will they, won’t they” premise drags on too long. Otherwise, Ms. Young has written an entertaining novel with interesting, strong characters.