The Lady Travelers Guide to Happily Ever After (Lady Travelers Society)
This light Victorian romance is about a second-chance love affair. James, an impetuous heir and known rake, is set to marry an appropriate woman, but instead gets caught kissing her best friend, Violet, on a dark terrace, at a ball. James marries Violet instead, assuming she’ll be thrilled. But the day after the nuptials, James tells his uncle, the Earl, that he isn’t ready for marriage and wants to live separately. Violet overhears, which breaks her heart as she had harbored feelings for him. She leaves London, traveling Europe on the Earl’s dime for six years, until the Earl’s death calls her back.
But the old Earl had always believed the marriage was destined. As a point of inheritance, he stipulated that James and Violet must live together for a specified time. If not, the money goes to charity. The Earl appoints three elderly widows (presumably from books one to three in this series) to adjudicate the process. Weaving in the widows is clunky, but the story itself is fun and entertaining. Victorian Europe is a thrill as well, and a delightful change from romances that stay put in London. This is a stand-alone novel, but fourth in the series.