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Heiress in Love (A Ministry of Marriage) [Mass Market Paperback]

Christina Brooke
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
RRP: £7.99
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Book Description

8 Aug 2011 A Ministry of Marriage (Book 1)
'A Convenient Marriage'...Jane, Lady Roxdale, has endured one marriage of convenience decreed by the Ministry of Marriage. While she deeply regrets her late husband's death, she is relieved to be free at last. But when a dissolute rake threatens everything Jane holds dear, she must contemplate marrying a second time...'An Inconvenient Passion'...Disgraced libertine Constantine Black inherits his cousin Roxdale's land and title - while Roxdale's prim widow is left all the wealth. Constantine is not a marrying man, but wedding Jane is the only way to save the estate from ruin. Jane resists the smouldering heat between them, desperate not to fall in love with an unrepentant rake. But for the first time ever, Constantine wants more than seduction. He wants all of her - body, heart, and soul...

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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: St Martin's Press (8 Aug 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312534124
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312534127
  • Product Dimensions: 17.3 x 10.8 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 464,172 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"Brooke puts her own clever twist on the classic marriage of convenience plot, and the result is an elegantly written, subtly nuanced romance."--"Chigaco Tribune""With this delightful debut Brooke demonstrates her ability for creating a charming cast of characters who are the perfect players in the first of the Ministry of Marriage series. Marriage-of-convenience fans will rejoice and take pleasure in this enchanting read."--"RT Book Reviews""Clever, lush and lovely---an amazing debut!"--Suzanne Enoch, "New York Times" bestselling author."..Each scene is more sensual and passionate than the last.""--Publisher's Weekly, Starred Review""Riveting tale of life, loss, convenience, and heart wrenching love! Superbly written!"--"Fresh Fiction""A delightful confection of secrets and seduction, HEIRESS IN LOVE will have readers craving more!"--"Tracy Anne Warren""One of the most compelling heroes I've read in years"-- "Anna Campbell"

About the Author

Christina Brooke is a former lawyer who staged a brilliant escape from the corporate world and landed squarely in Regency England. She lives in Australia with her husband, two sons and an ancient Great Dane cross called Monty. Christina loves travel, window-shopping in antique stores, pink champagne and fine Swiss chocolate. She especially loves hearing from readers.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Marvellous debut! 11 Feb 2012
By Anna Oxford VINE VOICE
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
I'm so happy to have discovered Christina Brooke! As an unashamed fan of historical romance I'm always on the lookout for a new author; and am so often disappointed by cliched plots, unconvincing characters and trite dialogue - but not in this case. This one's a gem. If you like the novels of writers like Liz Carlyle, Elizabeth Hoyt and Sherry Thomas (more complex and passionate than most but with a wry humour and a strong sense of the historical era) then you will certainly enjoy this story. I've just ordered the next book in the series and suspect that this author will continue to be on my "must buy" list.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Start to New Series! 9 Oct 2011
Format:Mass Market Paperback
What a wonderful story! I loved living through Jane and Constantine's difficult journey to happiness and love. And both of these characters were so intriguing and compelling. And Constantine is such a fantastic hero. Everybody thinks he's such a rotter and he's an honorable, warm-hearted man who is just right for Jane. Watching him gradually emerge as the wonderful hero he is will keep you turning the pages late into the night. I can't wait for Mad About the Earl, the next instalment in what promises to be a brilliant historical series. Well, done, Ms. Brooke!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A bit contrived 30 Mar 2013
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
I must admit I had lost interest in the heroine by the end of the third chapter and it was quite an effort of will to actually finish the book. Six choruses of I have paid for this I will finish it!Which was rather disappointing as the previous write up I has read had led me to expect much more.
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Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  16 reviews
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A simply delightful romance; leading characters were wonderful and their relationship absolutely lovely 1 July 2011
By J. P. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This was a lovely romance and I'm so glad that I decided to take a chance and buy it. It's character-driven, so there were not any subplots to detract from the main relationship and the developing romance. The hero and heroine were fantastic - well-written, compelling, and very three-dimensional. I thought the writing was excellent, the dialogue and character portrayal lovely, and there was some delicious chemistry. Brooke is a new author for me to keep my eye out for and I'm looking forward to reading the books she writes in the future.

SUMMARY:
Lady Jane Roxdale, after six years of marriage and at the young age of 23, has just become a widow. Her marriage was far from wonderful, so she cannot really find it in herself to grieve too much at her husband's passing. She is happy to have her freedom, however short-lived it may be, and sorry that she now has to move out of her home and that most of her inheritance will be going to her husband's heir. Imagine her surprise when Frederick's will is read and she finds out that while all entailed properties go to his heir, as they must, his entire fortune and assets have been left to Jane. Of far more concern to her is that the six-year-old boy, Luke, whom Jane has raised and come to think of as her own son, has been made the heir's ward.

Constantine Black, now Lord Roxdale, had been looking forward to this opportunity to start over. Overshadowed by a horrible scandal from his youth, Constantine has had to deal with snubs and being an outcast for far too long. With his new title and responsibilities, he hopes to be able to show people that he is a capable and responsible man with honor and integrity. How is he to possibly run and support an estate without funds though? Without the accompanying fortune, he is at a complete loss as to how to find the money necessary to do right by the estates and their tenants.

The obvious solution to both of their problems is for Jane and Constantine to marry. He will acquire the necessary funds and she will be able to keep and care for Luke. To Jane's mind, marrying Constantine is a small price to pay in order to stay with Luke, and while she has no desire to marry again and has an absolute fear and horror of the marriage bed, she is willing to do what is necessary. While Jane is eager to have the situation resolved in this way, Constantine is not immediately convinced and tries desperately to figure out some other way to find the money he needs.

Jane makes an (often laughable) attempt at courtship in order to convince Constantine to accept her offer of marriage and do what will benefit them both. In the end, acknowledging the necessity and having seen how attached Jane is to Luke, he concedes the point, but is determined to make Jane want him, as a husband and lover, and not just what will come from their alliance. As Jane is increasingly drawn in by him, she has to remind herself that this is a marriage of convenience, that this gorgeous man can have any woman he wants and can't possibly desire her, and that she should not expect anything from him ... but how wonderful if she was wrong, and he did begin to care for her. Thus begins an odd and somewhat two-sided courtship by a man and woman who could not be more dissimilar, yet have, through different experiences, both been emotionally scarred and find it very difficult to trust others.

MAIN CHARACTERS:
Jane and Constantine were such a fabulous match! Let me start off by saying that this is the second romance book I've read this week where I was not into the leading characters at the beginning - the first one being Meredith Duran's new book A Lady's Lesson in Scandal. In both cases, for the first section of the books I did not really like the heroine and I didn't have a feel for or any fondness towards the hero. Oddly enough, I think this actually made the entire experience better for me. In a romance, the hero and the heroine get to know one another (if they don't already) and fall in love; to be able to go through that same experience with them makes reading their romance that much more enjoyable and feel that much more authentic, because you're falling in love right alongside them.

Jane ended up being a terrific heroine and strong leading lady. She is a quiet woman who doesn't like to be the center of attention, however in many ways she's not like a lot of other wallflower heroines we see. She is not comfortable with people she doesn't know, can seem odd and abrupt, is not at all warm and fuzzy (except with Luke), and often keeps people at a distance with what seems like a very prickly personality. As one gets to know her though, you realize there is so much more to her and I ended up truly loving and admiring her. She is very self-contained and very controlled, but one gets the sense that is her way of surviving and making it through things. Also makes seeing Constantine loosen her up that much more fun ;-). Many times over she shows her strength of character, and the final section of the book really lets her shine as she convinces herself to stand up and fight for what (or rather who) she wants - Constantine.

Constantine was an absolutely wonderful and lovely hero! Again, I was not very drawn to him at the beginning. First, within the beginning 15 pages he has seen and lusts after Jane (who is supposed to be a somewhat plain jane type of heroine). This is a bad start for me, because I cannot stand lust-based or lust-driven romances. He also seemed to be a very familiar hero: the scandal-ridden rake who goes out of his way to live up to his (undeserved) bad reputation. Just like Jane though, there is much more to him and he ends up being a very gentle, sweet, and caring man. ::sigh:: Completely delicious and swoon-worthy! He has such a strong sense of responsibility and familial duty; having everyone he knows and everyone in society doubt his honor and integrity for years and years has been heart-breaking for him, even as he tries to pretend he doesn't care what others think of him and tells himself he doesn't seek anyone else's approval.

What Jane struggles through in this book are her own issues of trust and feelings of inadequacy as a wife. The marriage bed experience for her was nothing short of traumatic and she is convinced that there is something wrong with her in that sense and that she is unable to be a proper wife. The way that Constantine treats her and how gentle and tender he is as he tries to help her through her fear will make your heart melt. Bravo to Brooke, because she really does do a fantastic job with this aspect of the story and how it impacts both characters and their growing relationship.

Constantine, in a way, has a similar struggle in that he also has problems of trust. Other than his younger brother, no one has stood by him since the scandal so many years ago when he was 20 (am unsure of his age now). He felt utterly and completely betrayed that his friends and family would think him capable of what he was accused of and so didn't even try to deny it. He wants Jane's approval and respect, and he also wants to lighten and loosen her up a little. Jane, for her part, is pretty standoffish with him at the beginning, but does slowly do a turnaround. I thought that she takes long enough for it to be believable, but doesn't hold out for so long that the reader gets annoyed and says enough already.

WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE:
* Don't know Constantine's age and I wish Jane had been a little older; the way she's written she seems older than 23.
* The Ministry of Marriage concept is stupid, I still don't completely understand it, and I found the whole thing annoying. The machinations are a little disgusting and that these family leaders are treating their families' younger generations like marionettes is unpleasant.
* I think more could have been done with Jane's past. Most of her issues arise from her marriage to Frederick, but with what she went through in her early years it must have had an impact on her as a character and should have been more fully explored.
* The relationship between the main characters was so well-done that IMO it really detracted that the initial interest was based on lust/attraction. Brooke did this for both of them: she makes Constantine immediately lust after Jane and she immediately finds him attractive and is drawn to him. Thankfully, this is only in the very beginning, after which it begins to lessen under the focus of their relationship in other aspects and is then slowly brought back, as their connection starts to form for other reasons.
* The Epilogue kind of sets up or prepares us for book 2 (Mad About the Earl), so it's told from the next heroine's POV and is more focused on her own thoughts and feelings, with Jane and Constantine's HEA as a backdrop. Since it's their epilogue, I would prefer it was told from their POV. (Note: I ended up loving Jane so much that by the end of the book I was convinced I wouldn't read the other two heroine's romances, because compared to her they seemed boring and flat. There's a sneak preview of Rosamund's story at the end of this one though and Brooke already has me intrigued (is a beauty and the beast romance), so there goes that vow!)

BOTTOM LINE:
Absolutely fantastic and I definitely recommend it. I am keeping my copy, because I know I will reread in the future. The story was simple, but the characters were complex and their relationship builds up beautifully. Read it and enjoy!!
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful debut! 3 July 2011
By Lisa Wolff - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
All right, I'm not going to lie and say I didn't have high expectations for this book based on the cover (yes, I judge a book by its gorgeous cover) and then the back cover blurb later on because I did. And wow am I happy that it lived up to those expectations. Just an absolutely wonderful, sexy, touching romance novel.

Jane, Lady Roxdale, has already endured one marriage of convenience brought forth to her from the Ministry of Marriage, where one of the prominent members is her childhood guardian, the Duke of Montford. Montford rescued Jane when she was a young girl and brought her to him home to be his ward, along with numerous other wealthy, titled, parent-less cousins and together with other prominent heads of the ton, this Ministry of Marriage arranges marriages based on land and title mergings, not on love. So when the will of the late Lord Roxdale is read and Jane is left all the money and the new Lord Roxdale, Constantine Black is left the land everyone is outraged. As a result of the late Lord Roxdales death, a loan on the mill on the property is called due and Constantine has no way to get all the money needed in time....unless he marries Jane.

The first time Jane sees Constantine he is like a prince arriving on his white horse to whisk her away from her perfectly proper life. Too bad she doesn't want to like this man that is taking her home away from her and her young nephew, Luke. When also at the will reading it is announced that Constantine is to have guardianship of Luke she know the logical conclusion is that she must marry Constantine to keep the boy that is like a son to her. As Constantine refuses to marry Jane (and has even been warned from Montford that a marriage between them is unacceptable) she sets about to seduce him. Jane is a bit nervous and terrified at this prospect as her marriage was far from passionate and happy. As these two, albeit reluctantly, grow closer Constantine shows Jane just how passionate and happy a life together can be.

Sigh, this really was a wonderful story. I find the whole Ministry of Marriage aspect interesting and something I believe could very well have happened during this time period. All the characters were written and delivered so wonderfully as well. I loved watching Constantine emerge from his protective barriers of his unfair past to show Jane what life could be. Oh, so romantic, sweet...and hot when he does! And Jane, it was great watching her emerge from her perfect shell, or Ice Maiden as Constantine first thought of her, into a passionate, loving woman. And the addition of Luke was really well done as well and I was surprised at how well Constantine took to his new guardianship. Yes there was a bit at the end that I just wanted to shake Constantine for his actions, but there were justified based on his past and I was very happy with how it was resolved. We also get to meet a few of the other cousins of Janes that will be featured in future stories and they all sound promising already! There also seems to be a small romance blooming for the Duke of Montford as well that will hopefully continue on in future stories as well. I do wish we had gotten to see a bit more of Janes past and how all these cousins grew up together but hopefully that, too, is something that will be explored more in the future. Overall though, if you are looking for a wonderfully romantic story that has no huge misunderstanding and shows true growth to your characters, Christina Brooke has delivered a winner in her debut novel and I can not wait for more from her! 4 1/2 stars
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific Book by Skilled Storyteller! 7 Sep 2011
By Theresa Rizzo - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is a terrific book by a skilled storyteller!
Christina Brooke's debut book about an Heiress forced into marriage with a rake avoided obvious clichés. Her writing is wonderful, her dialogue authentic, and love scenes full of sensuality and heat. Jane and Constantine's story grew more touching and succeeded in making this reader feel more vested in their journey and relationship with each subsequent chapter. Well done!
Can't wait to read the next in the series, MAD ABOUT THE EARL.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 4.5 stars 2 Jan 2012
By Make it Funny - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I really enjoyed this new author. The beginning and middle were fresh and the characters and side characters were fun , lively, and had depth. The romance/seduction was paced well and the dialogue was engaging. It's a fast moving book with lots of action.

The last 30 pages got a little overly dramatic for me and it seemed to drag out unnecessarily. The hero and heroine were getting along well, but a wrong assumption pissed the hero off and he walked off. That made him seem rather petty and stupid. Instead of explaining the situation or listening to her apology, his ego too over. The saving grace was that we got to see more of the Duke and the 2 other heiresses about whom the next 2 books will be about. I can't wait to read them!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Start to New Series! 9 Oct 2011
By romancelover - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
What a wonderful story! I loved living through Jane and Constantine's difficult journey to happiness and love. And both of these characters were so intriguing and compelling. And Constantine is such a fantastic hero. Everybody thinks he's such a rotter and he's an honorable, warm-hearted man who is just right for Jane. Watching him gradually emerge as the wonderful hero he is will keep you turning the pages late into the night. I can't wait for Mad About the Earl, the next instalment in what promises to be a brilliant historical series. Well, done, Ms. Brooke!
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