My Rating: 4/5
Author: Mary Balogh
Title: A Counterfeit Betrayal
Genre: Regency Romance
I received this book from a Goodreads giveaway. Thank you to Goodreads and Mary Balogh for a chance to read this book.
A Counterfeit Betrothal/The Notorious Rake is a two in one book. I’ll separate the books separately below for review.
The first book – A Counterfeit Betrothal:
“Lady Sophia Bryant has no intention of marrying anytime soon. Her one desire is to reunite her parents, who have been estranged for fourteen years. Surely, if she happens to announce her betrothal—even a false one—they will be forced to see each other. Devilishly handsome Lord Francis Sutton seems perfect for such deceit, always agreeable to games of passion in which he has nothing to lose. The trap is set—if only Lady Sophia can keep her foolish heart from falling prey to her brilliant snares.”
A Counterfeit Betrothal is a regency romance story that follows Sophie Bryant and her plot to reunite her parents. Sophia’s parents were separated since she was four. She wants to get them back together and devises a plan with the help of her friends to get them back together. The plan is to have a false engagement (to Francis Sutton.) The story continues on with the struggles her parents face after meeting each other over fourteen years later; facing the problems of their past; and trying to give Sophia a wonderful wedding.
The book is written in third person, following Sophia, Olivia (her mother), and Marc (her father). The last main character is Francis who is thrown in to the group by agreeing to be the fiancé of Sophia. Francis has a reputation of being a rake, and Sophia’s parents have misgivings about her marrying Francis (including the fact that Sophia is young and their own marriage never worked out.) However, Olivia and Marc agree to put their differences behind them and become a happy couple for the duration of the upcoming wedding. The characters get lost in this charade and misunderstandings occur.
The plot mostly covers the month of the “betrothal” and how both couples (Sophia and Francis/Olivia and Marc) must work together to obtain results (getting Sophia’s parents back together/making Sophia happy for her wedding.) Obviously things do not go according to plan and love sprouts – with whom and how, I’ll let you read. The longer Sophia and Francis wait to call of the wedding, the harder it will be to walk away from it unharmed. But, will Olivia and Marc be able to come together in the end?
This story is regency romance, and as such, it follows the basic ideas and musings of that genre: social norms, proper speaking/acting, scandalous behavior, and misunderstandings. If you like regency romances, you should give this book a try.
The Second Book – The Notorious Rake:
“Lord Edmund Waite is everything that Lady Mary Gregg despises: lewd, lascivious, mocking—the most incorrigible and successful rogue around. A bluestocking like her would never tempt a man whose taste runs to pretty playthings—so Mary is startled to find herself the object of Lord Edmund’s desires. Even more surprising is her reaction to his shocking advances. She may be a lady, but this man knows so well how to make her feel like a woman.”
The Notorious Rake is a regency romance that follows Lady Mary Gregg [you might recognize her from A Counterfeit Betrothal] and Lord Edmund Waite. Lord Edmund Waite is a rake and is not respected by most of society. His scandalous behavior (between two women and whores), gambling, drinking, and the murder of his brother and mother hover over his head. Lady Mary was married and later became “friends” – so it was believed – with Clifton (from A Counterfeit Betrothal). After their friendship was broken off this story takes place bringing these two unlikely characters together.
The story is written in third person through Mary and Edmund. Mary’s extreme fear of thunderstorms puts her and Edmund together at a party in the being of the book. For then on, there is an “opposites attract” type relationship that throw the two together. Mary and Edmund are well-drawn out characters with their own flaws and weaknesses. They both are misunderstood by each other and society.
The plot moves along well with different incidents that bring Mary and Edmund together (literary gatherings, parties, walks/rides in the park, etc.) The author also throws in a viscount who is respectably courting Mary. Obviously, this causes for issues when Edmund is not so subtly seeking out Mary (as his mistress.) The beginning was a little bit of a shock for me. I did not expect what happened to happen – at least so quickly.
Overall, it was a good read. If you like regency romances, you should try this book.
Out of the two books, I think I like the second one better. There was more going on than the first. But, I also was a little busy and wasn’t able to read the first as quickly as the second.