AND THEN COMES MARRIAGE - Celeste Bradley
The Wicked Worthingtons , Book 2
St. Martin's Paperbacks
Mrs. Miranda Talbot is a well-off widow and survivor of a loveless marriage and before that, her parents' scandals. She knows the value of reputation and keeps a low profile, so low most don't know she exists. Yet she finds herself following Poll Worthington. Why? Because she wants more. What she doesn't know, and what Poll hasn't told her in his afternoon visits to her house, is that he is an identical twin. Miranda is actually following Cas. He saves her life when the steam-powered contraption he and Poll are working to perfect blows up. She invites him back to her house, and the visit ends with him kissing her! It's far and above anything she has ever experienced.
Poll (Pollux) and Cas (Castor) are from the mad Worthington family, not affluent aristocrats, but an ancient name. Their home seems similar to Bedlam. Their father speaks in Shakespearean quotes; their mother has laid aside motherhood and housewifery for some other interest, but that is not to say they don't love their children. Since older sister Callie, who acted as mother to her siblings, married a year ago and left the house (WHEN SHE SAID I DO, January 2013), the household has had little direction. The youngest, Attie (Atlanta) misses her older sister's mothering and acts out by terrorizing her other siblings. (Not mentioned here, but part of the story are Daedalus, Orion, Lysander, and Elektra.) She definitely doesn't want Miranda separating her brothers.
Poll and Cas are inventors and womanizers with a reputation in London for all the trouble they cause. Both are interested in Miranda (perhaps not for marriage, though) and challenge each other over who will win her. Even the Prince Regent gets involved in this strange affair. With her stuffy sister-in-law and an equally boring suitor haunting her, Miranda is ripe for trouble. The twins can provide it, but when the inevitable happens, will any of them be able to live with the results?
Circumstance and mischance play large parts in this story. Miranda is naïve and unsophisticated, and the twins need to mature into something close to adult. The story is funny, serious, crazy, and well-worth reading. This is the second in the series and I look forward to the other siblings' love machinations.