Published by Avon on December 26th 2017
Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo
Once upon a time there were three young ladies who, despite their fortunes, had been on the Marriage Mart a bit too long. They were known as the “Spinster Heiresses” . . .
He’s inherited a title, but not a penny to speak of, so the Earl of Rochdale knows he must find a wife—preferably one tolerably pretty and good-tempered, but definitely wealthy, and willing to exchange her fortune for his family name.
His choice: Leonie Charnock, one of the season’s “Spinster Heiresses.” Years before, the earl had saved the dark-eyed beauty’s reputation, and she is still breathtakingly lovely, leading Rochdale to hope that their marriage will be more than in name only.
However, Leonie doesn’t want to be anyone’s wife. Nearly destroyed by the secrets in her past, Leonie agrees to their union with one condition: there will be a wedding but no bedding. But it’s a condition the new Countess Rochdale isn’t sure even she can keep . . .
~~Reviewed by Monique~~
Roman Gilchrist, the new Earl of Rochdale, knew he had to marry a wealthy woman. Apart from the family estate, which was in dire need of maintenance, his late uncle’s huge gambling debts left Roman no choice. Roman’s solicitor suggests one of the so-called Spinster Heiresses; Leonie Charnock was one of them. After being jilted the previous year by a duke, Leonie’s chances of attracting the sort of husband her parents wish for her has become slimmer: the Charnocks come from trade and Leonie’s father’s fondest wish is that she marry “a title”. Leonie and Roman had met in India, where Leonie had spent the greater part of her life; Roman had been totally smitten, whereas Leonie had preferred the even more handsome Arthur Paccard. Roman had sacrificed his future because of Leonie, and he figures that, six years later, she can pay him back.
IF EVER I SHOULD LOVE YOU is a most welcome and extraordinary twist on the familiar marriage of convenience trope because it doesn’t follow the usual path. It is a story of true love, of forgiveness; words fail me, it is that grandiose a story. I was completely overwhelmed by the majesty of the story, and several tissues were needed, as I was enthralled and awed. Cathy Maxwell has written a painfully realistic story of good people whose lives are forever altered because of events that should not have occurred in an ideal world, with long-term consequences that became unbearable burdens. Leonie and Roman share a tragic past, and my heart ached for both of them because of the secrets they have kept for so many years, which have caused resentment, guilt, and changed their lives forever. Leonie and Roman are unforgettable characters, exceptionally well-rounded, admirably imperfect, and so genuine I know a couple like them has existed somehow, somewhere in time. Roman’s mother Catherine and stepfather David are also outstanding.
IF EVER I SHOULD LOVE YOU is a riveting, sad, wondrous, mesmerising, rewarding, and marvellous romance, but even more, it truly is the story of two people and their marriage: one who loves, the other who doesn’t really know if that possibility exists anymore. IF EVER I SHOULD LOVE YOU is one of the most beautiful, touching, powerful and viscerally-affecting romances I have read; a truly spectacular novel which I most highly recommend to readers who need more than fluff.
I voluntarily reviewed an advanced reader copy of this book.