Sir Richard Kenworthy is desperately in need of a wife. An unfortunate trip with a friend to the Smythe-Smith Musicale puts one Miss Iris Smythe-Smith in his sights. She’s the kind of young lady who is the last to get noticed. The kind who doesn’t have a lot of marriage prospects. No big dowry or amazing family connections, but she’s smart and witty and attractive in her own quiet way. She just might be the perfect woman for him.
And he liked her. Did he wish to throw her over his shoulder, spirit her away, and ravish her? No, but nor did he think it would be enjoyable when the time came.
Iris is taken aback when Richard suddenly starts showing her so much attention. She’s used to being unnoticed and underestimated, so naturally she is a tad suspicious when such a handsome man decides he must have an introduction and weirdly enough begins to court her in earnest. He’s so charming and seems so interested, and they do get along rather well, but there is just something about his pursuit that just doesn’t sit quite right. When they are found in a compromising position all her objections fall by the wayside when they are forced to marry. Iris has high hopes that everything will turn out okay.
I read this book several weeks ago and I still am not sure exactly what I think. On one hand, there is Iris. She is smart and sensible and quite funny. I loved Iris as this book’s heroine. Then there is Richard. Richard is… well, Richard is not the most wonderful hero. Yes, he is in a difficult situation and I really do believe he had only the best intentions of trying to solve what he sees as a devastating problem in his family, but oh wow was I so disappointed in him. My heart actually hurt for Iris when she finally discovers the reason he married her. I’m not going to spoil this review by mentioning why Richard decides to get himself a wife or even why Iris is who he chooses, this is a journey you as the reader need to take, but suffice it to say it’s awful. Manipulative, cruel and awful.
Does Julia Quinn do the impossible and redeem Sir Richard Kenworthy? Yes and no. I believe she does do a sufficient job of showing him as remorseful and coming to the realization that Iris is everything he could want in a wife. I do believe that he genuinely fell in love and wanted to right his wrong, but I still can’t get over the way he tricked her or made her feel. I just can’t get over the feeling that he was a cad.
While it’s easy to see Ms. Quinn’s voice in the characterizations and humor, this is not quite the bubbly romance that I’m used to by her. Definitely not my favorite of the series, but still an enjoyable read that I think historical romance fans will enjoy. Final Grade- B-/C+
“I would go to the ends of the earth,” Richard murmured, leaning down to brush her lips with his.
“For a flower?”