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A Kate Pearce tale that I actually quite liked (hate her Simply series)
on 7 October 2011
This is a novella, but it packed in a whole tale that I actually found pretty good. I'm not a fan of her Simply series, as I find the characters non-likeable and too 'anything goes', but this one had a decent underlying tale.
James was forced to marry Arabella, as her father, a commoner, wanted a title for her, and used James's impoverished state and family secret to blackmail him. He also told his daughter that James had married her for money, nothing else - and neither of them knew about the other's reasons for marrying. So, after a dire wedding night, James disappeared, having asked his best friend Tom to show Araballa about passion, to make amends for his brutal taking of her.
Two years on, James is freed at her father's death and returns to claim his wife, who still loves him, as his friend Tom tells it, but Arabella is still seeing Tom, for who, she has genuine likeness. James tells Tom that he is happy for him to continue sleeping with his wife, if it makes her happy, and they decide to arrange a menage for her. And it is pretty hot, til she susses that they must know each other more intimately than they ever let on, and turns the tables on them.
Overall, a good read, with a believable tale for the time in which it was set, some actually likeable characters. Not a clear HEA for the married couple or for the trio, but for once, it didn't matter to me. Not sure why - possibly as Arabella was not the clingy, gushy type and didn't need declarations, and because her seeing Tom had helped him get over the loss of his wife and maybe now they didn't need each other enough for a permanent menage - or maybe they did. Who knows other than the trio, but still the book worked for me.