I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Charlotte Windham is tough and brash but she still is turning down offers of aristocrats looking to get in good with the Windham clan. With new debutantes wanting her out of the way, Charlotte decides it is time to do just that and decides a little ruination could go a long way to freeing her.
Lucas Sherbourne has had a lifetime of dealing with the arrogant aristocracy but he still can't help but be drawn to Charlotte.
A little scandal, a rushed trip to the altar, and rainy days in Wales soon becomes the best recipe for a marriage.
“I like you,” she said. “Somewhat. A little. I don’t dislike you.”
The fourth and last book in the Windham brides series, focuses on Charlotte with her sister and husband (heroine and hero of book three) playing big roles too. Lucas and Charlotte do appear in book three, you'd get the understanding why Lucas and Charlotte's brother-in-law have some animosity, but if focusing solely on Charlotte and Lucas' relationship, you could comfortably dive in here.
Lucas is a commoner but a fairly rich one, so he went to schools with titled boys who punished him various ways for being "lesser" than them and he never really had a sense of family or friends. I thought the author did a wonderful job showcasing how Lucas' personality was formed because of how he grew up and why he strives for achievement, is very self-contained, and wanting to do best by his home and the surrounding people. Charlotte, on the other hand, grew up in a very large family but also got a little bit lost in it, especially as everyone gets married. At first glance, these two may seem opposites attract but their desires, fears, and wants are very similar once you see below their surfaces. Burrowes is a master at nuances and subtleties, whether it's emotion or humor.
This is very much a story of marriage, how jobs, money, relationships, and two individual personalities come together and love. The tone is mild and you'd want to look elsewhere for drama or escapades but a stripped to its bones of marriage and love journey are found in the pages. Burrowes' artful use of secondary characters can also be found with previously introduced characters and even a simple relationship between the hero and his valet, enrich the depth of the hero and heroine. The villain of the piece provides a bit of a crescendo moment throughout the story, but makes our heroine seem a bit too stubborn for angst sake.
“You torrid very well, Mr. Sherbourne. May I prevail on you to ruin me?”
If looking for a mellower read with a thoroughly delved into look at marriage and relationships or just wanting to visit the Windhams again, Burrowes provides an endearing story.