MARRIED BY MORNING – Lisa Kleypas
A Perfect 10
The Hathaways , Book 4
St. Martin's Press
Hampshire, England – 1852
Catherine Marks was hired as governess for the two youngest Hathaway sisters, Poppy and Beatrix, to teach them etiquette and how to become proper young ladies. Although Catherine has done an admirable job, their brother Leo, Lord Ramsay, took an immediate dislike to the prissy woman and calls her The Grim Reaper. When Leo lost the woman he loved a few years ago, he showed his grief by drinking, gambling, and carousing, much to Catherine's disdain. They can't be in the same room together without insults flying back and forth. Three of the four Hathaway sisters, Amelia, Winnifred, and Poppy are all happily settled and starting families. Now it is Leo's turn—he must marry and have an heir within the year to save the Ramsay estate which he inherited four years ago.
After some time away from home, Leo returns and notices that Catherine looks different—she's gained a little weight, is rosy cheeked, and her hair is lighter. What are her secrets? And why does Leo feel such a strong attraction to her? After an argument in the garden and kissing her passionately, he is even more curious about her. There is obviously something in her past that troubles her. Leo and Catherine ride out to look at the ruins of an ancient estate on the property. As they are climbing over and around the property, Leo realizes that they are climbing on the old roof, and it begins to shift from their weight. Too late to rescue themselves, they fall into the old building. Although Leo injures his shoulder and Catherine loses her spectacles, the efficient Catherine stacks up rocks for them to climb out of the pit, and they return home.
Catherine takes care of Leo through the night. The antipathy between them is changing into a stronger attraction, and Leo is having a hard time resisting her. Heated discussions between them often lead to delicious kisses. His sisters plan a ball to invite many eligible ladies for Leo to meet. Will Leo have to leave his beautiful home to the countess, Lady Ramsay, and her daughter, Miss Darvin, who will inherit if he doesn't marry? And when the past catches up to Catherine, will there be anyone to risk life and limb to protect her?
Leo was first introduced in MINE TILL MIDNIGHT (October 2007); he was wrapped in misery from losing a woman he loved. He caused a lot of grief to his family who were always rescuing him. He finally turns his life around and becomes a respectable gentleman. He is charming, and has a lively sense of humor. His interest is architecture. Catherine has been in the background, prim and proper, except for her confrontations with Leo. She hides her secrets. They are both fascinating characters.
A favorite character (if an animal can be called a character) is Beatrix's ferret, Dodger, who has taken a liking to Catherine. He loves to steal little items from her. I can hardly wait to read Beatrix's story coming next month, LOVE IN THE AFTERNOON. Beatrix loves to wander in the woods to rescue animals or has one in her pocket, so her family is never surprised to find little creatures wandering through their home.
Each book in the Hathaway series tells the story of one of the family members, and although MARRIED BY MORNING can stand alone, readers will want to read the whole series—it is just too good to miss. There is a lot of sexual tension, sizzling romance, and a wonderful friendship among all the family members. I just recently discovered Ms. Kleypas and quickly tried to gather all of her backlist (a few almost impossible to find). Readers can always count on Lisa Kleypas for a fascinating story, both historical and contemporary. MARRIED BY MORNING is a keeper, a Perfect 10. Don't miss it.