Caroline Linden hasn’t let me down yet and this latest book is no exception. It picks up as a companion story to One Night in London, though I think it would still make sense as a standalone. The premise to the series: after the Duke of Durham’s death, his three sons find out that his marriage to their mother may have been invalid. A blackmailer claims to have proof that the Duke was married to another woman first and never divorced. With their legitimacy and estate at risk, the sons now must find out who the blackmailer is –and stop him before he ruins their future.
This story follows the efforts of the youngest son, Gerard. He plans to track down the blackmailer and silence him by whatever means necessary. But as a third son, he knows that even if he is successful, he’ll need a wealthy bride to keep up his standard of living. Enter Katherine. She’s heard about the scandal surrounding the Durham family and she presents herself to Gerard for marriage. She is a very wealthy widow, albeit a plain one, who has nursed a secret affection for him for years. Of course, he doesn’t remember the one time they met years ago, but her offer and her sizable funds prove to be irresistible.
After a quick wedding, the two of them head out for Bath, so Gerard can continue his quest. Katherine, or Kate as he calls her, is quiet and kind of awkward. But Gerard quickly indoctrinates her into the ways of passion. They connect quickly in the bedroom, but Kate finds herself longing for a deeper connection with her husband. It’s a pretty straightforward love story, as Gerard slowly realizes what a hidden gem his wife really is. In the meantime, Kate must learn to stop hiding behind the careful façade that she built to deal with her unkind mother and uncaring first husband. She must also learn to trust in Gerard and believe in her own worth.
I know I have said it before, but one of the reasons I like Caroline Linden books is because she doesn’t rely on standard tropes to advance her stories. I never find myself rolling my eyes or annoyed by unnecessary misunderstandings. We’re just watching two people grow and learn what it means to love. Oh yeah, and the sex is hot too.
We don’t get much further in the blackmailing arc, but the story sets up Charlie’s book nicely, where we’re sure to see a resolution. I’m also happy to say that we got an appearance from Margaret, the heroine from “I Love the Earl.” We get her perspective on the scandal surrounding her brother (the Duke) and we see how her HEA played out. I enjoyed this one. 4 stars.
*ARC Provided by NetGalley
Blame It on Bathby Caroline LindenRelease Date: February 28, 2012Publisher: Avon