For all the years Prudence Armitage had worked for Nicholas and his sister at "The Ladies Fashionable Cabinet", he'd never really gotten to know, the shy mousy looking young woman who diligently worked by their sides. Rather he took her for granted, almost like a second sister. Now that his sister had left for an extended honeymoon, Prudence assumed Edwina's editorial duties. Late one evening Nicholas casually mentioned that she was working too hard, putting in too many hours, and assured that she was leaving soon he continued out the door for a night of entertainment. However, the next morning when he was rudely awakened by an enraged father and a horde of `viking-like giants' demanding satisfaction for ruining his daughter and their sister who had never arrived home the night before - Nicholas realized they were speaking of Pru who'd fallen asleep at her desk! Being a true gentleman, he would of course, do the right thing and offer her marriage though it was the furthest thing from his mind with Prudence being the least likely of candidates.
Prudence, was horrified - having been in love with Nicholas since the very first day she'd met him. Yet, married they'd be - the very next day!
With the help of Flora, a retired demimonde and `fashion editor' of the paper, and the Crimson ladies, Prudence, began to reveal qualities that gave Nicholas food for thought. Soon Nicholas was regretting his plans for an`in-name-only'marriage, and was formulating plans to make Pru his wife in all ways.
*** This was a delightful finale to the charming Ladies Fashionable Cabinet trilogy featuring, Nicolas and Prudence. Uniquely stand-alone this was a look at a marriage forced upon two individuals who in appearance were as different as night and day. Nicolas, the too handsome for his own good, charming, outgoing personality while Pru the complete opposite - small in stature, embarrassingly shy, and relatively content to blend into the background while letting others shine. What was unique was that she didn't turn into a swan overnight, rather making the most of her other attributes. While Nicholas did fall in love/lust with her, it was more for the beautiful person he saw, while her looks, which truly were never that bad once she removed all the accoutrements she used to hide them, revealed a more subtle beauty. The humor was charming as Pru tried to put into practice the lessons of flirting and seduction received from Flora and the Crimson ladies - suffice it to say, Pru didn't turn into a seductress. What was really important though, was how Pru came to realize that as `perfect' as she thought Nicholas was, she finally discovered he wasn't and she had gained enough confidence to give him a wake up call when she pointed it out to him. This was truly a divine read, a slow, yet very moving and truly romantic experience. --- Marilyn, for www.romancedesigns.com