I’m so excited that we get to participate in the blog tour for Marry in Secret by Anne Gracie! I’ve loved all of her books that I’ve read so far and I’m never disappointed when I’m looking for a HEA. Check out what the book is all about and the excerpt before you read my thoughts and make sure you add this to your TBR shelf!Marry in Secret by Anne Gracie
Published by Penguin on July 30th 2019
Genres: Fiction, Historical, Regency, Romance
Lady Rose Rutherford—rebel, heiress, and exasperated target of the town's hungry bachelors—has a plan to gain the freedom she so desperately desires: she will enter into a marriage of convenience with the biggest prize on the London marriage mart.
There's just one problem: the fierce-looking man who crashes her wedding to the Duke of Everingham — Thomas Beresford, the young naval officer she fell in love with and secretly married when she was still a schoolgirl. Thought to have died four years ago he's returned, a cold, hard stranger with one driving purpose—revenge.
Embittered by betrayal and hungry for vengeance, Thomas will stop at nothing to reclaim his rightful place, even if that means using Rose—and her fortune—to do it. But Rose never did follow the rules, and as she takes matters into her own unpredictable hands, Thomas finds himself in an unexpected and infuriating predicament: he's falling in love with his wife....
Rose paused at the church door. Lily and George fluttered around her, straightening the circlet of flowers in her hair, arranging the lace train of her dress. Rose stood, lively as a statue and about as warm. “Now, don’t be nervous,” Aunt Dottie had said a few moments before. “It will all work out perfectly, trust me, my love. I have one of my feelings.”
But Rose wasn’t the slightest bit nervous. It all felt strangely distant, as if it were happening to some other girl. She moistened her lips and waited.
George poked her head around the door, glanced in and pulled a face. “He’s there.”
“Well, of course he’s there,” Lily said crossly. Poor Lily. She’d been in a brittle mood all morning, trying to put a good face on a wedding she still had grave doubts about. Lily wasn’t very good at hiding her feelings.
What if the duke hadn’t come? He was notoriously unreliable about keeping engagements. What if he’d jilted her at the altar? Rose considered it briefly and decided that it would be embarrassing . . . and possibly something of a relief.
Nonsense. She needed to do this, needed to draw a line in the sand between her old life and her new. Cut the bonds of the old, and move on.
“Ready?” her brother Cal asked. She nodded and took his arm.
Now. She took a deep breath and stepped inside the church and stood blinking as her eyes adjusted to the dim light of the interior. A hush fell, followed by a susurration of whispers and rustling silk as the congregation turned as one to look at the bride.
The church smelled of flowers, spring flowers, and beeswax, brass polish and perfumes, a hundred clashing perfumes.
At the end of the aisle, in the dappled light of a stained-glass window, stood her future husband, the Duke of Everingham, looking bored. He’d removed his gray kid gloves and was slapping them rhythmically in his palm. Bored and impatient.
At least he’d turned up.
The organ played a chord that swelled to a crescendo, then died, and then the music started and she was walking, walking like an automaton, toward the altar, toward her fate.
She felt everyone’s eyes on her. She’d hardly slept. Did it show? Did she care if it did?
The duke stepped forward. Cal waited, his arm steady beneath her hand, ready to hand her over—like a parcel, like a possession, George had muttered once at another wedding they’d attended.
Rose glanced up and met the duke’s gaze. Dark eyes, gray-green, and cold as the winter sea. Perfectly good eyes, but the wrong color. The wrong eyes.
She regarded them bleakly. Time healed all wounds. Or so they said.
The bishop, resplendent in his robes of gold and purple, cleared his throat and they turned to face him. Rose hoped he wasn’t the kind of bishop who would give some long dreary sermon. She wanted this wedding over. Over and done with. No going back.
“Dearly beloved, we are gathered together here . . .”
The familiar words washed over her. She was calm, quite calm. Coldly, perfectly calm. Not like last time.
The bishop continued, speaking in those melodic rises and falls peculiar to ministers. Did they teach them that singsong cadence at minister school? “. . . not by any to be enterprised, nor taken in hand, unadvisedly, lightly, or wantonly, to satisfy men’s carnal lusts and appetites . . .”
She shivered. Lord, but this church was cold.
“Therefore if any man can show any just cause why they may not lawfully be joined together, let him now speak or else hereafter forever hold his peace.”
Her fingers were freezing. She should have worn kid gloves instead of these lace ones.
The bishop paused for a perfunctory breath, then continued, “I require and charge you both, as ye will answer at the dreadful day of judgment when the secrets of all hearts shall be disclosed, that—”
“Stop the wedding!”
I love Anne Gracie’s books. I came across her books when a friend posted about how much she loved her stories so I immediately grabbed one and couldn’t stop reading. Marry in Secret is the third book in the Marriage of Convenience series, and it focuses on Rose.
Rose is looking for some freedom and has come to a decision that the only way she will get it is if she marries. Just as she is walking down the aisle to wed one of the most eligible bachelors in London, someone she never expected walks back into her life and stops everything…her husband! We find out that Rose secretly married Thomas, a naval officer, just before he headed out to sea and for the last four years has thought he was dead. Of course, his turning up not only stops the wedding but also puts these two in a situation they never thought they would be in. As they determine what is the best course of action for their marriage, they also have to overcome the danger because Thomas was clearly betrayed, and someone is still trying to get rid of him.
I loved Rose. Despite the initial shock of seeing Thomas return, she knew immediately what she wanted and wasn’t afraid to push Thomas to acknowledge they should still be together no matter how much he tried to push her away. I thought Thomas was a great character as well. He has had a rough time since he was thought lost at sea but his motivation to find out why he was betrayed and to get back to Rose are what drove him to find his way back. I loved that once he was back, he never gave up on trying to find the men that survived with him. His desire to bring them home no matter what showed his true character.
If you have read the other two books in this series, you know the typical cast of characters. I loved that we got to see how their relationships were progressing and I’m looking forward to the next book in this series so we can see what happens next for George.
As always, another great historical romance by Anne Gracie. Consider checking her books out if you haven’t already. I love how she develops her characters, builds out the story, and keeps me turning the pages so I can get to the HEA.
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the early copy in exchange for an honest review.