Expected Release Date: November 5, 2012
Publisher: Harlequin
Imprint: Carina Press
Author’s Website:
My Source for This Book: Netgalley
Part of a Series: No
Series Best Read In Order: N/A
Steam Level: Warm
Pet Peeves: Adultery
Favorite Tropes: Forced Marriage

Official Blurb:

Northumberland, 1815

At long last, Britain is at peace, and General Jack Armstrong is coming home to the wife he barely knows. Wed for mutual convenience, their union unconsummated, the couple has exchanged only cold, dutiful letters. With no more wars to fight, Jack is ready to attempt a peace treaty of his own.

Elizabeth Armstrong is on the warpath. She never expected fidelity from the husband she knew for only a week, but his scandalous exploits have made her the object of pity for years. Now that he’s back, she has no intention of sharing her bed with him—or providing him with an heir—unless he can earn her forgiveness. No matter what feelings he ignites within her…

Jack is not expecting a spirited, confident woman in place of the meek girl he left behind. As his desire intensifies, he wants much more than a marriage in name only. But winning his wife’s love may be the greatest battle he’s faced yet.

What Worked For Me:

  • loved Elizabeth.  Average in looks, and forced into a marriage with a stranger only days after her beloved husband died, I think she handled herself far better than I would have in her situation.
  • The fact that Elizabeth didn’t sit back and let Jack get away with the embarrassment he’d caused her with his blatant affairs made me cheer for her for the entire book. Call me vindictive, but I loved that she made him work for her forgiveness.
  • There’s a part towards the end, where Elizabeth has a bit of an epiphany about her own attitudes that I loved. It’s uncomfortable for anyone, fictional or otherwise, to admit fault as she did, but I loved that she took responsibility for her own actions and attitudes without taking more blame than was deserved.
  • I also enjoyed the historical notes. I’ve read another title by this author, and I remember that a large part of her writing focuses not just on the romance but on the actual historical setting. This is no “wallpaper historical”, and I really enjoyed the change of pace.
  • The steam was just right for this book. Elizabeth wasn’t a spinster virgin, and Jack obviously hadn’t suffered from inexperience, and it made sense that they’d both be frank and realistic about their desires.

What Didn’t Work For Me:

  • Even though it was a surprisingly minor problem for me, I still don’t like infidelity in my romance. To be fair, if there HAD to be infidelity, this is how I would choose to have it, but even so, it still bothers me a bit.
  • I was a little disappointed that the main conflict (aside from the obvious infidelity) was so obviously foreshadowed. I was a bit disappointed when events played out as they did, simply because I’d spent the whole book waiting for it to happen.

As anyone who follows my reviews knows, I despise infidelity and adultery in my romance novels.  It is, hands down, my number one pet-peeve of all time.

And yet, I really enjoyed this book.

Yes, it was painful to hear of Jack’s affairs while he was married to Elizabeth, and the hurt and humiliation that it had inflicted made me want Jack to suffer, but I wasn’t alone in that. Elizabeth didn’t let him get away with his bad behavior, and I loved watching her make him earn her forgiveness.

More than that, however, was the beautifully done historical backdrop of a military man a time of tentative peace.  The historical details added a richness to the story, and helped to lend a lot of credence to the characters and their behaviors and attitudes.

With just the right amount of steam and plenty of emotion, I would definitely recommend this one to any fan of historical romance with arranged marriages, and I urge readers to take a chance on this one even if infidelity is a trope they tend to avoid.

A very solid 4/5 stars