The Captivating Lady Charlotte
Lady Charlotte wants to marry for love, but her parents are decidedly against her preference for charming Lord Markham. Their choice is the recently widowed Duke of Hartington, who is, after all, a duke. He is attracted to Charlotte, but can a heart bruised by his first wife’s infidelities learn to trust again? And can she learn to look beyond superficial gallantries to the true worth of her suitors?
For both it proves a struggle, as their hopes and reactions blow hot and cold. The difficulties are increased by their reluctance to be completely honest with each other, however understandable. Nor does the conduct of other family members help, particularly Charlotte’s controlling and ambitious mother. The plot develops in an increasingly gothic direction, with secret tunnels, a mad former servant, and a reckless abduction attempt; and since this is a Christian Regency romance, the characters pause to pray and seek guidance from God at increasingly frequent moments of doubt and distress. The combination of gothic and didactic can be unsettling, but the warning against superficial attraction is refreshing in a genre so fond of ‘reformed’ rakes. Nor is pause for sober reflection such a bad thing.