The Girl with the Make-Believe Husband

Written by Julia Quinn
Review by Val Adolph

Facing the probability of marriage to an oily and grasping cousin, Cecilia Harcourt escapes by sailing to America to search for her brother Thomas, missing in the War of Independence. Unable to find Thomas, Cecilia finds instead his friend and comrade, Captain Edward Rokesby, lying injured and in need of help. To provide much needed care, she declares herself to be his wife. When Edward finally recovers consciousness—but not his memory—she continues the deception to have his help and support in searching for her brother.

The romance between the English man and woman, each struggling with matters of conscience, plays out in 1779 Manhattan Island in this prequel to the author’s Bridgertons series.

The novel has a well-constructed plot, well-drawn characters and vivid dialog. The reader is privy to the internal struggles of both main characters without unnecessary moralizing. This imaginative book places a romance among the British aristocracy into an American setting. The author maintains the tension of the undiscovered lie almost to the end, and the denouement is both amusing and satisfying.