Published by Kensington on October 24th 2017
Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo
The award-winning author of The Reunion continues her dazzling new series with a novel of one woman’s fall from saint to sinner . . .
Lucy Betancourt’s future looks bleak. The daughter of an ailing vicar in a village with no eligible bachelors, her only hope is to find employment as a governess or companion. As she helps her childhood friend, the new Duchess of Worley, through her pregnancy, the ever-practical Lucy makes her plans. But life—in the way of the dashing Bex Brantwood—has something else in store for Lucy…
Upon meeting Bex, the duke’s cousin, Lucy offers herself up to him. But Bex is no family man looking for a governess. And Lucy is not exactly mistress material. Still, the misunderstanding ends in a kiss neither can forget . . .
Bex finds the proper vicar’s daughter and her most improper proposal endlessly amusing—and attractive. But, saddled with debt, he’s in no position to keep a woman, much less marry one, which is what a woman like Lucy deserves. Little does he know that even with her reputation at stake, Lucy will take the biggest gamble of her life by following her heart—straight into his arms
~~Reviewed by Amy~~
I adore Regency romances. The dukes, duchesses, balls, and fashion. That high society stuff is such fun to read. But what about the ordinary working people? Those that don’t have the luxury of a title. Don’t they deserve a happily ever after too? It’s not a common theme in historical romance but new-to-me-author Sara Portman portrays it beautifully in the second of her Brides of Beadwell series, The Offer. Two ordinary people struggling to find their way in life and, in the process, finding each other.
Lucy Betancourt was the daughter of an ailing vicar. Unmarried, no prospects, and no connections. Being the pragmatic girl that she was, Lucy knew she needed to look for employment as a companion or governess. It was the sensible thing for a girl like her. So Lucy travelled to help her childhood friend, the Duchess of Worley, through her pregnancy. There she could further her practical plans for her future. But once she met Bex Brantwood, the Duke of Worley’s cousin, practicality seemed much less appealing than it had before.
Bex Brantwood was as down on his luck as he could possibly be. Thinking Bex was in line for the dukedom, his father had incurred considerable debt. But the title went to his cousin and Bex was left with nothing but moneylenders anxious for repayment. He’d been “lowered to a state in which he subsisted solely on the grace and favour of others”. It was time for Bex to focus on his future. A future he wanted to build on his own without the charity of his cousin. When Bex met the lovely Lucy Betancourt, he had no idea who she was but he was taken with the ethereal creature. She obviously had no idea who he was. And “the more she spoke, the more muddled the entire situation became”. After a comedy of errors, the two strangers kissed. Bex knew he should walk away. Yes, he desired Lucy but he couldn’t ruin her. He had nothing to offer and his attentions needed to be focused elsewhere. But thoughts of Lucy occupied every corner of his mind.
Lucy couldn’t keep Bex from her thoughts either. With each encounter, their attraction and friendship grew. And with each encounter, the need to touch was too tempting also. And the more Bex touched her, the more she knew she wanted him to keep touching her. She’d enjoyed his kisses and wanted to experience more. She’d never be a wife or mother. Couldn’t she, for a brief time, know what it was to be a lover? Bex tried to resist the temptation. They shouldn’t continue these dangerous games. Lucy would be ruined and he was in no position to save her from scandal. But it’s only a scandal if someone knows about it.
Bex and Lucy were two of the most loveable characters I’ve read in a long time. Yes, there was an immediate attraction between them, but the friendship they formed was the most delightful aspect of their growing relationship. With each encounter, they became more perfect for each other. The things I loved about Bex and Lucy were the things about each other that they fell in love with. I loved Lucy’s tendency to babble when anxious. After all, that’s what led to their first kiss. I loved that she saw worth in Bex beyond any title or income. She was genuinely interested in his business endeavours. Though she worried about the risk in such ventures, she had faith in him. And she helped him see that others had faith in his abilities as well. I loved Bex’s attitude. He didn’t give up and was determined to make his own way in life. He wanted to be worthy of Lucy. His confidence and determination helped Lucy to have the courage to be more adventurous. To go for the path she wanted in life rather than the path she’d convinced herself was practical.
The secondary characters were just as loveable. Though I’ve not read the first book in this series, meeting Emma and the duke in this story makes me want to go back and read about how they met. I also adored Lady Constance. She was instrumental in Bex and Lucy’s romance. I hope there is more of her in future books. If Ms. Portman is considering a more mature heroine, I think a story for Lady Constance would be spectacular.
I’m so glad I found this author and am anxious to read more from her. It was a great plot with loveable characters and lots of witty banter. And the final scene after the relationship is discovered is hysterical. If you’re looking for something fresh and unpredictable, you’ll love this one. Funny, touching, romantic, engaging, and thoroughly enjoyable.
I voluntarily reviewed an Advanced Reader’s Copy of this book.