Headstrong Emily St. Simon longed to escape the stifling confines of her English noblewoman’s life. So, dressed as a boy, she daringly stowed away on a ship bound for America- unaware that her dreams of independence would soon lead to one dazzling night of passion, a forced marriage, and abandonment by the husband whose unforgettable presence haunted her, night and day.
For dashing sea captain Noah Sandleton, honoring a debt meant keeping away from his beautiful new wife. Yet sensing danger, he devised a secret plan that would bring him back to the woman who had touched the very depths of his soul. Reunited with Emily, he fought to regain her shattered trust and keep her safe from harm, vowing with every kiss, to rescue a love greater than either had ever known.
After reading Paradise Found, I discovered that I had another book by the same author in the TBR pile. Innocent Betrayal however is a different type of book. It's an historical romance and it definitely reads as an old school story.
We have a feisty stubborn heroine who is determined to get away from her older brother's protection and run away to America dressed as a boy (where have I read this before) and an alpha hero who attracts every female around him, the heroine included. A silly misunderstanding, that both the heroine and her brother could easily have explained, leads the hero to believe her a nobody when he finds her on his ship. A bit of forced seduction leads them to be found in bed by the heroine's brother who makes them marry.
Now I've read my share of feisty heroines and alpha heroes, truth be told I enjoyed quite a few of them. The problem is that after a while, unless there's something original in them, you start to feel like you've read all this before... and that's what happened here. After the shotgun marriage the brother forces the hero to leave to spare the heroine's feelings and, quite predictably, the poor girl is left heartbroken because, quite predictably too, she had already fallen for her husband.
There's a mystery subplot in which an old enemy of the hero tries to get to him through his wife and the hero comes back to protect her that could have been interesting but I had a hard time believing that he could disguise himself so well that he could spend weeks with his wife and she not recognising him. And the way her treated her in the end? Well let's just say that a lot more groveling was needed to convince me...
So, if you are in the mood for an old school romance that will bring nothing new but will also not be particularly offensive you may try grabbing this one...