Temptations of a Wallflower
To a modern reader, marriage between a duke’s daughter and an earl’s son would seem unremarkable, other than as a parade of the rich and famous. But this is Regency England, where degrees of rank among the aristocracy are minutely scrutinized; Lady Sarah Frampton has a large dowry, and Jeremy Cleland is the third son, not only unlikely to succeed to the title, but a lowly vicar in a rural parish. Since they are well suited and share a powerful attraction, they decide to wed in secret. The duke is not pleased, but, more importantly, both have secrets which will test their mutual bond: she is none other than the Lady of Dubious Quality, author of scandalously erotic fiction, and he has been ordered to unmask her identity.
The growing love between two attractive and sympathetic characters is delightfully handled, the sexual scenes are predictably explicit, and the burden of paternal expectations and societal censure revealed. An added bonus is the opportunity for the author to mount a spirited defence of ‘escapist’ romance novels. This is third in The Wicked Quills of London series. Strongly recommended.