Under the Kissing Bough
Eleanor Glover learns her parents have agreed to her arranged marriage with Geoffrey Westerly, the son of an earl. Although initially willing, Eleanor is terrified when she discovers her fiancé to be incredibly handsome and charming. Shy and not beautiful, she fears she cannot withstand his charms. Rather than entering a marriage in which she loves and he is indifferent, Eleanor attempts to disgust him so that he will allow her to cry off. She tells him that she understands that men offer carte blanche to their mistresses; if she becomes his affianced wife, she wants to be able to ask for carte blanche to name what she wants from their arranged marriage. At first angered by her presumption, Geoffrey’s sense of humor takes over, and, to Eleanor’s chagrin, he agrees.
Unlike many regency romances, Donnelly has obviously made an effort to represent her characters and time period in an accurate manner. Possibly the only false note concerns a subplot regarding fox hunting in which Geoffrey all-too-easily agrees to Eleanor’s wish to have it banned from his father’s estate. This is a charming book for readers who enjoy light historical reading.