The young Lord Nevinstoke, known to his friends as Nev, loves nothing more than a good time, whether it’s drinking with his friends or dallying with his mistress. But when his father dies unexpectedly, Nev suddenly inherits the responsibility of being head of the family, as well as a mountain of crushing debt. With a large estate to repair and no money for the task, his only choice is to marry a rich woman, and heiress Penelope Brown fits the bill nicely. Since Penelope’s father is a tradesman, she is not of Nev’s class, but her money seems a fair trade for his title. Nev and Penelope marry quickly, but despite their growing attraction to each other, they encounter many obstacles. Nev’s estate is in even worse shape than he thought, and he has no knowledge of business matters. His tenants have grown increasingly discontented as the estate has become less prosperous. And meanwhile, Penelope feels uprooted from everything familiar and thrust into a place where she doesn’t belong. Will Nev and Penelope be able to solve these problems and finally find happiness together?
I enjoy a good Regency romance every once in a while, and I’d read that this one is the next best thing to Georgette Heyer. I don’t know if I’d go that far, but I do think the book is very well written and often entertaining. I enjoy the “marriage of convenience turns into something more” trope, so I was predisposed to like the plot, and I also liked both Nev and Penelope as characters. Specifically, I was a big fan of how Nev grows and changes throughout the book. He starts out as a careless young man — albeit a likable one — who lives entirely for pleasure. But when he is confronted with his responsibilities for the first time, he takes them seriously and tries to learn all he can. I also sympathized with Penelope quite a bit, as she experiences a lot of insecurity when she marries “above” herself. I did get annoyed at all the misunderstandings between her and Nev, though; every time it seemed like they were finally on the same page, one of them would second-guess the relationship for no good reason. There was also a lot more, ahem, “romance” than I was expecting. But overall, as Regency romances go, this is a fairly enjoyable one.