on May 30th 2017
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The New York Times bestselling author of The Viscount Needs a Wife returns with another roguishly delicious Regency romance...As England mourns the death of Princess Charlotte, Lady Ariana Boxstall has another succession in mind. Her brother, Norris, is a strapping young man, but he s also happily unmarried and childless. Norris agrees to take a wife on one condition: that Ariana take a husband first. Although she realizes she risks a lifetime in a loveless marriage, for the sake of her family, Ariana accepts his challenge. When the Earl of Kynaston met Ariana eight years ago, he broke her heart. Since then, his own heart has been broken, and he s sworn off love...until he sees Ariana all grown-up and his resolve is threatened. Could Ariana s bargain with Norris actually lead her to happiness? With real love on the line, she must win over the one man who refuses to be had."
Jo Beverley was one the few authors writing English-set historical romance who was English. She was born and raised in England, and had a degree in English history from Keele University in Staffordshire. She and her husband emigrated to Canada, but returned to England, where she stayed until she started her next big adventure on May 23, 2016 after a short battle with cancer. She is survived by her husband, two sons, and granddaughter. She is sorely missed by all who knew and loved her, including the many fans who loved her books including all of us here at Buried Under Romance.
Though Jo started to write as a young child, it was only in the eighties that she began to think that it was something ordinary people could do, and after a talk at a local library, she settled to seriously writing her first historical romance.
She wrote forty-one romance novels and many novellas—which have brought her many awards, including five RITA awards from the Romance Writers of America and awards from Romantic Times, including two Career Achievement awards. She was a member of the RWA Honor Roll, and the RWA Hall of Fame.
~~Reviewed by AnnMarie~~
Merely a Marriage is a stand alone book by Jo Beverley. Knowing that the dear lady passed away a year ago made reading this book bittersweet for me. I was happy to be enjoying an entertaining book, but so sad knowing that it’s author is no longer with us.
Lady Ariana Boxstall is desperately upset after Princess Charlotte dies along side her baby in childbirth. It’s very upsetting because Charlotte was young, but also upsetting because it makes Ariana realise that her brother, Norris, needs to marry and beget an heir sooner rather than later. He is the heir to the family estate and if anything were to happen to him before marrying and having an heir then everything goes to their good for nothing uncle. In her desperation Ariana tells Norris he must marry before the end of the year in just 2 months time! Of course he refuses, but when she won’t take no for an answer he makes a deal with her; if she marries before the end of the year, he will marry by the end of January. He doesn’t believe for one minute that she will agree to the deal, so is shocked when she does! She figures it can’t be hard to find a man who is suitable and will make an agreeable husband. With that in mind, she heads to London where with the help of a family friend to make a list of men as tall or taller than her that would make a good husband, she sets out to fulfil her part of the deal. Ariana is a very tall woman, which has always made it difficult to feel comfortable at social routs. At one such occasion 8 years ago Ariana had quite a crush on a man, the Earl of Kynaston, and she was crushed when she overheard him talking amongst friends, taking the mickey of her Amazonian size and her large feet! She hoped she would never see him again.
Unfortunately, Titus, the Earl is in London and is staying at his aunt’s house after selling his own town house. Even more unfortunate for Ariana is that the family friend helping her to find a husband, and with whom she is staying while in London, is none other than Kynaston’s aunt! Another shock for her is that on the list that has been made of potential husbands, the aunt has put Kynaston’s name. She decides to cross out his name immediately and to concentrate on the other men on the list.
Coming across Kynaston brings back bad memories, but it also brings back her old feelings for him, except now he seems to be a wastrel and a drunk. Ariana has no idea about what has changed him so much, and despite being adamant not to spend any time with him, she does just that and finds it harder and harder to stop wishing that he would just grab her and kiss her senseless. Does he feel the same, it doesn’t seem like it, in fact he’s helping her with her husband search! How can she possibly find the perfect guy when it is as plain as the nose on your face that she is comparing every man unfavourably to Kynaston.
Will she end up with a husband, and in turn will Norris find a bride too?
I did enjoy this book, but have to admit that it isn’t one of Jo Beverley’s finest. In fact while reading it, it crossed my mind that perhaps a lot of it was written while she wasn’t well. The book just didn’t have the special something that make her books extra special. The plot was good, and the subplots interesting, I especially liked the references to the Egyptian artefacts and a mummy that fascinated Ariana. Sometimes the plots did seem to get a bit messy, but still could be understood. I guess sometimes the book seemed a little disjointed and we could lose sight of the main plot. That said, there were some laugh out loud moments in the book, and some moments that brought a tear to my eyes. Jo Beverley definitely delivered when it came to making me enjoy the gamut of emotions whilst reading this book. All in all, it was still a pleasure to read and I am glad that I did.
I voluntarily reviewed an advanced readers’ copy of this book.