When lovely young Miss Laura Milbanke was asked for her hand in marriage in romantic Venice, the irresistibly handsome Sir Nicholas Grenville was at death's door. He had fought a disastrous duel to defend Laura's honor, and now he would defend her from poverty by leaving her his estate when he died.
But Sir Nicholas did not die. He lived to bring Laura home to King's Cliff manor. Waiting for him was the fabulously beautiful Augustine Townsend, whom Nicholas had long adored and who would be his - if only Laura did not stand in the way.
Should Laura try to fight this ravishing rival? Or should she give her husband his freedom by giving herself to the temptingly attractive Daniel Tregarron, who offered her all the love Sir Nicholas denied her? Never did a young bride find herself in a greater dilemma - as a marriage that broke all the rules threatened to break her heart . . .
This book had no magic, unlike my previous read by the author, and I liked it a lot better for it. It features a marriage of convenience in which both the h/h believe he will die. They marry so the heroine can have finantial security and since he survives she decides to bring him back to England to recover.
As soon as they arrive it becomes clear that Ausgustine, Nicholas previous fiancee, is determined to separate the newlyweds and gain back her status after an annulment. She starts turning Nicholas' mind against his wife and unable to tell him the truth due to doctors orders, Laura decides to implement in the property some changes that Nicholas wanted to bring about, knowing they won't go well with Augustine and the neighbours. Feeling lonely Laura strikes a friendship with Nicholas' doctor and friend that will end up ruining her reputation and damaging her marriage.
I thought this had the potential to reach keeper status but in the end it didn't. I felt Nicholas was too easily manipulated by Augustine and Laura kept seeing the doctor (and getting into trouble) when she should have realized that that was only making things worse. And even if Laura was the wronged party it was she who ended up making the first steps to the reconciliation. Too much heart ache and not enough happy moments was my final take on the story.