HOW I MARRIED A MARQUESS – Anna Harrington
The Secret Life of Scoundrels Series
England – 1817
Former English spy Thomas Matteson, Lord Chesney, is still recovering from a near fatal gunshot wound sustained in London. His confidence is further broken when he is not allowed to return to work for England. So he spends his endless days being a rakehell. That is until old family friend Earl Royston asks him to come to the country and try to find the highwaymen who have been targeting the earl's guests, and only his guests. To make these incidences even stranger, only the men are ordered to hand over their valuables, not the women. Knowing that Royston has the potential power to get Thomas back into his career, Thomas agrees to travel to Lincolnshire to investigate.
Josephine Carlisle, adopted daughter of Richard and Elizabeth Carlisle, has devoted her life to helping the orphans at the Good Hope Orphanage instead of looking for a husband. Earl Royston sponsors the establishment; he's even responsible for hiring the woman who runs it. He looks the other way as the very same woman steals money from the orphanage, leaving the children with little food or the means to heat the building. Josie tries her best to donate what she can, even getting her family to help, but it is a daunting task to run such a home.
At the Royston's ball, Thomas meets the intriguing Josie Carlisle. He is immediately enamored of her despite her obvious lack of similar feelings, and the fact that her older brothers make no bones about protecting her from a rogue. Still, Thomas is smitten enough to pursue Josie by visiting her family home. Josie tries her best not to be attracted to Thomas, but it's very difficult.
On the night Thomas stands watch for highwaymen, knowing guests are arriving at the Roystons', he manages to chase one of them to their secret hideout. That's when everything gets very complicated.
HOW I MARRIED A MARQUESS, a Secret Life of Scoundrels book, was extremely entertaining. Josie is a very determined young woman who will stop at nothing to help her fellow orphans, even spurning the attentions of a handsome scoundrel. Thomas is lost without his career, and he, too, will do anything to return to it. It's pretty clear who the real scoundrel is, and Josie's family is delightful. I enjoyed this well-written tale.