Millicent understands the terms of her arranged marriage all too well. She gets to be a Countess by marrying an impoverished Earl. And in return, the Earl Fitzhugh receives the benefit of her vast wealth, saving his family from bankruptcy. Because of her youth, they have agreed to wait eight years before consummating the marriage--and then, only to beget an heir. After which, they will lead separate lives.
It is a most sensible arrangement. Except for one little thing. Somehow Millie has fallen head over heels in love with her husband. Her husband, who has become her very best friend, but nothing more...Her husband, who plans to reunite with his childhood sweetheart, the beautiful and newly widowed Isabella, as soon as he has honored the pact with his wife...
As the hour they truly become husband-and-wife draws near, both Millie and Fitzhugh must face the truth in their hearts. Has their pact bred only a great friendship--or has it, without either of them quite noticing, given rise to a great love?
After reading Beguiling the Beauty I couldn't resist grabbing this one. Despite the problems I found with that book this seemed to have a lot of potential and, more important, it had a marriage in trouble plot (and I do have a soft spot for those).
This is also a friends to lovers story. Millie and Fitz have been married for 8 years when this story starts. They a marriage of convenience because Millie's father wanted a title and Fitz needed the money but eventually a deep friendship was born between them. Millie has always been in love with her husband, in fact she fell in love with him at first sight. But Fitz loved another and candidly told her about it. To save face Millie pretended the same and asked for a platonic marriage at least for a few years. Now, 8 years have gone by and it is almost time for them to make their marriage true in every way. But the woman Fitz loved in now free and he has to choose with whom to spend the rest of his life.
I have to say that I was more disappointed in this one than in the first book. There was much potential for angst and high emotions and instead, Thomas, gave us 2 very politically correct people, determined to do their best for the people they love, or think they love. Millie and Fitz have built a solid relationship based in mutual respect and shared values and beliefs. They even have a business relationship which works very well. It is obvious for everyone, or at least to me it was, that they love each other even if they don't express it physically.
However Fitz is ready to abandon all that. And Millie decides she will let him go just like that. And even when Fitz realises that he has changed and the feelings he thought he still had are not exactly the same he still hesitates to do what his heart asks him to...
I was a bit exasperated with all that nonsense and with Isabelle being so obviously wrong for Fitz and unaware that everyone thought so. I'll admit I didn't like Isabelle in the short story where I knew her and that my feelings did not change in this one. While it was an easy read, in fact I read in just a few hours, I wasn't as happy with it when I reached the end as I thought I would be.
I'm also ambivalent on whether I will enjoy the third story but I think I will try it and see how it goes. I've been hearing about Helena for 2 books now so maybe I should investigate what's going to happen to her.