A Marriage of Convenience
Desperate to settle a debt regarding his estate, Baron William Ledbetter marries Prudence Stockworth in a hasty ceremony. The wealth she inherited in the wake of her fiance's death is enough to mend his financial affairs. But even if he didn't need the money, he finds himself entranced by her innocent beauty... Prudence remains brokenhearted over the death of her fiancé, but knows the time has come to marry rather than die a spinster. Although she is aware that Ledbetter has wed her only for her money, his forward advances frighten her pure sensibilities. And it will take all of her courage to trust this man whose passion knows no bounds--and find a
love that is the greatest fortune of all...
I found A Prudent Match a very interesting story, not something extraordinary but a solid story to spend an afternoon with.
Following a quick courtship of just two week Prudence and Baron William Ledbetter are married. He needs the money her dowry brings him and Prudence feels it’s time she marries as she is 22 and had been engaged for a few years to a gentleman who, after dying in India, had left her his fortune.
When the story opens, the marriage is already happening so we don’t really get to know them before that. We do however follow them as they start to know each other. Prudence does seem to have a bit of a temper and, what surprises William even more, she is very shy about her body and in fact pretends to be unwell on her wedding night just to avoid him.
Even if this is a marriage of convenience, William is determined to have a good relationship with his wife and after confronting her about her fears proposes a plan to help her overcome her fears. They will sleep together in the same bed but nothing will happen until she is used to him and decides to do it. I thought this was an interesting plot for traditional regency because there’s usually no sex, or very little of it, and this time sex was spoken of all the time as William tried to convince Prudence that it was a very normal thing and that their bodies reactions were just what they were supposed to be.
There was also a mystery subplot about why William’s late mother had left instructions for a huge organ to be bought for the local church and about who the young organist who looked so much like William was but the main story was about William and Prudence and their relationship.
Apart her fear of the bedchamber Prudence is quite a sensible woman and in fact she seems to be able to do everything from organizing a house party, delivering a baby and solving the mysteries, I previously mentioned. My only complaints with the story was that there didn’t seem to be a particular motive for her fears and it seemed just like a convenient excuse that they had met each other at her come out 4 years ago and been attracted to each other. At least it seemed unlikely to me that four years on William would have felt compelled to look for her and offer marriage.