Devilishly handsome Lord Ian Sutcombe, the new Marquess Sutcombe, has inherited debt and a bankrupt ancestral Hall thanks to poor management made from his late father and an avaricious step-mother. He has no choice but to seek a marriage of convenience and sets his sight on Hannah Leeds, a newly wealthy merchant's daughter. The ambitious merchant is quite eager for his two other daughters to find titled husbands, and ensure his name will be forever linked with the nobility. Hannah, a very pretty country girl has no desire for the excessively pampered and cloistered lifestyle led by the aristocracy but was recently mysteriously jilted by the commoner she loved. Numbed by the rejection and pressured by her father, she resignedly agrees to marry Ian. They wed, and soon learn that passion and desire and a commonality of interests force them to know each other, yet their pride may prevent them from discovering a once-in-a-lifetime love.
Another Layton title with a MOC story. A gentleman of the ton needs to marry for money to save his estate and provide medical care for his brother. He sees several young girls of the merchant class and decides to propose to Hannah Leeds. Hannah is a nice, sensible woman who has suffered a heartbreak and has decided to enter a marriage of convenience as a result.
Both Ian and Hannah seemed like really nice characters and I was happy to follow along with their story. Them getting to know each other and eventually falling in love. They take their time in doing this, they have reasonable doubts about whether to trust each other but more they know of one another the more they do believe they can make it work.
The problem, I thought, was that Layton couldn't resist giving them an external conflict. When Ian introduces Hannah to society someone decides to spread some gossip around her and Hannah's old love eventually comes back to try to win her again. Neither situation really is that challenging for their relationship and it doesn't contribute much to advance the action. I would have preferred some other type of plot twist to make this a livelier story or to just keep following in their adjustments to marriage.
Still it was an entertaining, if somewhat forgettable, story.