THE GIRL WITH THE MAKE-BELIEVE HUSBAND – Julia Quinn
A Bridgertons Prequel , Book 2
Manhattan Island, New York, June 1779
Miss Cecilia Harcourt of Derbyshire has spent the last few of her two and twenty years running the household and taking care of her father. What shall she do now that he's dead and her elder brother Thomas is off fighting revolutionaries in the American Colonies? She can't live alone, and she only has an unpleasant cousin who wants to marry her. Smarmy Cousin Horace is next in line after her brother to inherit her home, something he has high hopes will happen soon, what with Thomas at war. When Cecilia receives a letter informing her that Thomas has been wounded, she gathers all her courage and savings and sets sail for New York to find him and care for him.
After weeks at sea, Cecilia arrives in New York Town only to learn Thomas is missing. She does, however, find his best friend, Capt. Edward Rokesby, unconscious in an old church turned hospital. Cecilia has come to know and like Edward through the many letters between her and her brother, and she's determined to care for him. She's told she can't—only his family is allowed. Impulsively, she claims to be his wife! Cecilia tenderly cares for Edward for several days. Then he awakens with no memories of his last months. He's still fragile and needs care, so she continues to pose as his wife—married by proxy. She feels guilty for lying to Edward, but she must continue the search for her brother. Her chances of cooperation from the army are better for the wife of an earl's son than for a nobody from nowhere.
What has this story to do with the Bridgertons? It's a sequel to last year's first prequel, BECAUSE OF MISS BRIDGERTON, in which the Bridgerton and Rokesby families live as neighbors on their country estates. A connection through marriage seems inevitable . . . .
Cecilia and Edward are bound to capture the sympathy and concern of readers. Ms. Quinn's excellent writing will guarantee that. She has a touch that can run from light-hearted to serious, from humorous to suspenseful, and altogether riveting.