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This review is also available on my blog, Bows & Bullets Reviews
Edie's marriage to the Duke of Margrave five years ago was far from a love match. Sure, the two put on a good show before the ceremony, but soon after Stuart (his grace) ran back to the wild's of Africa leaving Edie with all the duties and responsibilities that should have been his, just as she wanted it. Now, he's returned. Injured in Africa, he is now determined to make his wife fall as much in love with him as he has been with her. She's beyond resistant to the idea and soon a wager is made. He has ten days to make her fall for him (proven by a kiss, naturally) or he gives her the legal separation she so desires.
Edie is that strong woman we all hope to be. Completely content on her own and perfectly capable of running an estate and shouldering all the responsibility of dukedom with easy. Her fear of getting too close to Stuart was so heartbreakingly understandable that you couldn't help routing for Stuart to succeed in pulling down her walls and winning her over. She deserves the love and adoration she so adamantly denies herself. She has good reason, believe me, but her life would be so much better with Stuart's love.
Stuart is the picture of the swoon-worthy male I always look for in historical romance. Chivalrous and sweet and hell bent on seeking revenge of the man who hurt Edie. He was immediately captivated by Edie, with her straight forward nature and her desire for a specific type of marriage and after the ceremony he could feel himself falling for her, the very last thing she wanted, so he left for Africa a bit earlier than planned. He left because staying with her when he couldn't have her was torture of the highest order. Now, with his mangled leg, he has no choice but to come home and he's welcome can only be described as frigid. Edie actually runs from him and leaves him at a train station when she bumps into him accidentally. But she's just as alluring running away as she was that night when she followed him into that garden and he just has to find a way to win her heart.
Watching these two make progress was completely thrilling. Throw in Edie's impetuous little sister, who also won my heart, and I'm sold. This is what I want from every historical romance. It has the action, the suspense, the tension, and, obviously, the romance. But these two are so incredible perfect for each other that it makes you wonder why it took so long for them to figure it out. It's exactly what I was hoping it would be and I couldn't be more satisfied. Any historical romance novel fan will love this!
****Thank you to Avon for providing me with an eARC via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review****