A Pretense of Love

Aileen Fish
A Pretense of Love
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Ellora's Cave Publishing
Release Date
September 2013
Historical Romance

Twenty-two-year-old Miss Jean Seaton's best chance of finding a husband is behind her. When her brother's friend offers to pay for a Season in London in exchange for pretending to be his betrothed, she sees it as a miracle.

Ben needs a fiancée to convince his dying grandfather that he has settled down and is capable of inheriting and running his business and estate. But he didn't consider how spending six weeks with Jean would make her necessary to his happiness. Now she's in London and he's in agony. A gentleman never reneges on an agreement…unless his heart is broken.

Book Review by Angie Just Read... (reviewer)
Oct 25, 2013   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
81 people found the following review helpful
Engaging in subterfuge to gain his inheritance was all the gentleman thought he needed…until he realized his fake fiancée was necessary to his happiness.

When Miss Jean Seaton accepted a proposal of marriage from her brother's friend Mr. Ben Tilbury, it was a simple business arrangement. She would pose as Mr. Tilbury's fiancée to guarantee his ailing grandfather did not withhold the gentleman's inheritance and, in exchange, Mr. Tilbury would fund a season in London so that Jean, a woman of little means, unexceptional birth, and bound for spinsterhood, might find a suitable husband.

When Jean inquired if the scheme might not impair Mr. Tilbury's own future chances for contracting a marriage, the gentleman advised the silently disapproving miss that the love and affection of a wife were never a requirement, as his baser needs could be met without the need of marriage. That being the case, Jean determined that Ben Tilbury was simply a means to an end; otherwise a man such as he was not worth knowing. Jean resolved to act her part of fiancée and no more.

Sadly, in the six months since gaining wealth, status, and property upon his grandfather's demise, Ben Tilbury found himself brooding over the loss of Miss Jean Seaton. During the many long weeks he'd spent learning all the duties necessary to running his grandfather's estate and overseeing his business matters, Miss Seaton's companionship and commiseration soothed his troubles. Her very presence under the same roof was a balm, until such time as his grandfather's lingering illness finally took the old man, thus prompting Miss Seaton's travel to London for the agreed upon season of husband hunting and Ben's descent into abject loneliness and melancholy at Three Gables.

Acknowledging that the lady was necessary to his happiness took some time for Ben to admit. Acknowledging the affliction he suffered was love took even longer, as did overcoming the lady's objections to a gentleman who'd once told that her he had no intention of marrying when women of a certain character could serve his needs without commitment.

In this delightfully written sweet Regency novella, Aileen Fish captures the reader with a well-crafted, dilemma-filled plot and a spanking pace that never disappoints. As long-held opinions are disproved and dawning realizations are made, one heart must learn that love sets its own pace and arrives when least expected, and another heart must learn to trust enough to believe in future happiness and make a leap of faith.

The dilemmas facing Ben and Jean are as relatable to the Regency era as they are today and readers will appreciate the author's ability to communicate both characters' points of view with such seamless ease and gentle vulnerability. Reading A PRETENSE OF LOVE was a real pleasure and fans of sweet Regency will not want to miss it.

Sweet: kisses only.
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