Oh how lovely!
It has been quiet some time since I got my hands on a historical romance novel, let alone a book that featured a theme of friends to lovers!
Lady Jessica Heyer has just become a wealthy young widow. But as a lady she has to endure scrutiny and rumors from the society gossips. Her own marriage was less then stellar. Married to a wicked man that has made her married life a living nightmare, his actions still haunt her from far beyond the grave.
The only thing that makes this living nightmare any better is Duke of Alsborough, Jessica's most dearest and oldest friend. What Jessica does not realize is that Hayden harbors feelings for the young widow and is ready to take her on as his bride besides the scandal their arrangement might bring.
Such a sweet and cute story. The beginning starts out with a heart-break from the cruelty Jessica's late husband inflicts on her before his death. Now because Jessica cannot and did not provide her late husband with an heir, she is being forced out of her house. If that is not bad enough, the society has managed to turn the other way on her and a certain newspaper gossip column keeps spreading ugly rumors. I liked Jessica. I thought she was a strong character to still be standing after everything her husband had done to her. Hayden was just as wonderful, for being so caring and protective. All he wants to do is take her pain away. He has been in love with Jessica for quiet some time now and is ready to give her a proper life and save her from the scrutiny of the society.
Jessica isn't ready to admit to her true feelings for Hayden. Thought she knows she must remarry in order to survive, she has a hard time making the transition when it comes to her best friend. She has rightfully so to take her time to decide even with Hayden urging her to move forward with her decision quickly.
The story had romance, touching moments, chemistry and of course a little bit of action and scandal. It was my first dip into Clare's writing and so far I have enjoyed from what I have seen of her writing. The only thing that did not make this book a couple four stars for me was a bit of the plot felt hurried. Especially the whole deal with the person behind the gossip column. With only 90% left of the book, I was getting nervous it wouldn't tie everything up. It did manage to end on a great note. I will be looking to more stories from this author.
Source: I got a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange of an honest review.
Lily Pond Reads