The Girl With The Make-Believe Husband
A Bridgertons Prequel
The Rokesby Series #2
by Julia Quinn
Available as MMP, Large Print, E-Book Hardcover, Digital Audiobook Unabridged
On Sale: 05/30/2017
Romance / Historical / General/ Romantic Comedy
While you were sleeping…
With her brother Thomas injured on the battlefront in the Colonies, orphaned Cecilia Harcourt has two unbearable choices: move in with a maiden aunt or marry a scheming cousin. Instead, she chooses option three and travels across the Atlantic, determined to nurse her brother back to health. But after a week of searching, she finds not her brother but his best friend, the handsome officer Edward Rokesby. He’s unconscious and in desperate need of her care, and Cecilia vows that she will save this soldier’s life, even if staying by his side means telling one little lie…
I told everyone I was your wife
When Edward comes to, he’s more than a little confused. The blow to his head knocked out three months of his memory, but surely he would recall getting married. He knows who Cecilia Harcourt is—even if he does not recall her face—and with everyone calling her his wife, he decides it must be true, even though he’d always assumed he’d marry his neighbor back in England.
If only it were true…
Cecilia risks her entire future by giving herself—completely—to the man she loves. But when the truth comes out, Edward may have a few surprises of his own for the new Mrs. Rokesby.
Back in the day, there were probably more rules for living manuals than there were novels. In this instance, the heroine’s actions violate most tenets of appropriate behavior for a gently-bred miss.
Unmarried ladies did not leave home alone. When her father dies and her brother is missing Cecilia decides she has no alternative but to sail to the new world in the middle of a war to British occupied Manhattan.
This struck me as a remarkably stupid thing to do.
Then she decides to lie about the marriage to Edward. Well, that is particularly unladylike. And, to continue thus, when telling the truth would have probably not been terribly hard, well, that would have been ruinous for her reputation but, really! She really further stretches the truth with a tale of proxy marriage. I looked it up and it still existed at the time.
What this story does is give a couple a WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING scenario. They get to know each other under the cover of their supposed marriage and you know there is not another way for the story to end. But, what will happen to bring it about?
This is where Quinn excels; the how to get from point A, over seemingly insurmountable obstacles, to point HEA. There are many points where it seems inevitable, and others when I really feel Quinn might buck tradition and the HEA may not happen, or could be a cliff-hanger. She is clever and uncanny in her plotting and seems to know what I will be thinking at every turn.
I liked that the friendship between the two men, helps instead of hinders the relationship. And that he shows the miniature he carries of Cecilia to Edward which in concert with the letters leads him to obviously fall half in love with her long before they ever meet.
It’s nice that the book focuses on the colonies and our Revolutionary War. This makes it Georgian and not Regency. And, in the colonies, things were done a little differently: especially with the Dutch influence remaining in NY. Fashions were different than the Regency: the Classical and Empire styles would not yet have developed. Hoops and panniers were still in evidence.
I liked the inclusion of historical figures like Mary Tryon. I grew up in upstate New York and had relatives who lived on “Tryon Court,” the name has personal meaning.
I don’t understand the position of this story in the series, and still don’t quite get the relationship between the Rokesbys and their neighbors. I thought the deposition of Cecilia’s brother’s story was unconvincing and confusing.
Otherwise if you enjoy British-themed romance novels but long for something outside the Regency or Victorian period, then this could be a good choice for you. It combines the sensibilities of upper-class British norms and the excitement of the American Revolutionary War. There are no Highlanders and Bonaparte wasn’t around at this time. It’s nice to read a romance novel in other times and places than Regency England!