MINISTRY OF MARRIAGE #2
Designed to arrange matches of rank and affluence, the powerful Ministry of Marriage has no interest in love. But when does the heart ever play by the rules?
Lady Rosamund Westruther has no objection to the match arranged for her by the Ministry—until she meets her intended. Gruff, stubborn Griffin, Earl of Tregarth, is hardly the charming nobleman the classic beauty has dreamed of for so long. While a proper lady can’t cry off, she can demand a proper courtship …
Griffin is aware of his duty to wed—and more convinced than ever that the lovely Rosamund has no place with a man like him. Built for fields and stables rather than drawing rooms, Griffin doubts he can win her in the polite manner society requires. But with every passing day, the attraction between them flares higher and hotter. Maybe there is more to love than meets the eye…
This is a charming Beauty and the Beast inspired story.
Griffin, full of insecurities about himself after years of physical and mental abuse at the hands of his cruel and sadistic grandfather, certainly tugs at the heartstrings. One of the most poignant moments is when he recalls the first ball held in his honour:
“I see the agony of being awkward, seventeen, a lumbering uncultivated giant in a ballroom full of elegant, cruel strangers. All of them tittering and curling their lips, pointing out my clumsiness. And my own grandfather leading them in their ridicule.”
Rosamund makes such an appealing heroine because, although beautiful, she is neither shallow nor vain. She is warm, kind and intelligent but fears that people only see her beautiful face and not what lies beneath. In a way, she and Griffin are kindred spirits and that’s why they are so perfect together. I like the fact that Rosamund is attracted to Griffin even before she sees him, and I love the scene where she sees him for the first time.
His massive body gleamed wetly in the sunshine: acres of hairy muscled chest, miles of long, strong legs. Hands as big as plates shoved a shock of black hair from his eyes, plastering it back over his skull. The movement made the muscles in his biceps bulge with power. [Drooling]
It’s obvious from their first meeting that there’s a definite spark between them and I enjoyed watching their relationship unfold even if there are obstacles to overcome along the way; jealousy, Rosamund’s viper of a mother, an erotic painting, a locket and, last but not least, the meddling Ministry of Marriage!
Ms Brooke’s love scenes are in perfect harmony with the story and there are some deliciously romantic moments:
“Not that I don’t want to look upon you all the time,” he assured her hastily. “I do, but…I want you, not just your beauty. I want to talk with you, laugh with you. I want you to have your own mind, to make me lose my temper, to be your own self. I want you in my arms, in my bed.”
and the ending – just perfect!
There are some delightfully funny moments in this book as well. My favourite has to be the exchange between Griffin and Rosamund’s cousin, Viscount Lydgate, when Griffin arrives at Montford House to ‘collect’ his bride.
Tregarth strode into the room, looking large, belligerent and decidedly unkempt.
“Good God!” said Lydgate in accents of horror, looking him up and down. “Did you come directly from your horse barn or did you take a great roll in a cow byre for good measure?”
Tregarth flicked his glowering gaze Lydgate’s way.“Don’t try my patience, sir.” His attention returned to Montford. “Where’s my bride?”
Lydgate’s expression of disgust turned to astonishment, then outrage. “You can’t mean to you intend to call upon my cousin – your affianced wife – looking like a cursed farm labourer!”
Curling his lip, Tregarth ran a cursory, contemptuous glance over Lydgate’s splendour. “Better that than a damned fop.”
A delightful and entertaining book which is guaranteed to make you laugh one moment and tug at your heart strings the next.
RATING : ★★★★