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Their marriage was arranged, but their desire was not...

After two years, Grayson Bridlington, The Earl of Hawkeswell, has located his missing bride Verity Thompson. Coerced into marrying Hawkeswell by her duplicitous cousin, Verity fled London for the countryside. Now, the couple must make the most of an arranged marriage-even if it means surrendering to their shared desire.

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Published: Penguin Group on
ISBN: 9781101185391
List price: $7.99
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I really loved Ravishing in Red, the first in the Rarest Blooms quartet, but I admit to feeling tepid about Provocative in Pearls.

Generally I love stories about couples who are forced into marriage, as Verity and Hawkeswell are. Verity was bullied through the ceremony but after the vows were said and done, she runs away and ends up among the Rarest Blooms. That leaves Hawkeswell, who's badly strapped for cash, in the lurch. Because their marriage is unconsummated he can't access her fortune, but as long as she's presumed to be alive he can't marry anyone else.

When fate brings Hawkeswell and Verity back into contact, we find out that she's been operating based on a lot of false assumptions. She assumes that Hawkeswell has had access to her vast fortune during the two years she's been gone. She assumes that he's frivolous by nature and needs her money for wasteful luxuries. She assumes that he's in league with her cruel cousin, and that he'd be a controlling, unkind husband who would refuse her any goals and pursuits of her own.

You know what they say about assumptions? Because that's how I felt about Verity. For the first half of the novel her primary goal is to convince Hawkeswell to grant her an annulment. He's dead broke and getting an annulment would take time, years maybe, during which he'd be living on the knife's edge of poverty. That seems like a lot of ask from him when she can't be bothered to do some basic due diligence, find out who he is or what the marriage she's rejecting would be like.

For his part, Hawkeswell is determined to make the marriage work. He devises a scheme to seduce Verity, demanding three kisses a day, which reminded me of another book, Thunder and Roses (Signet Historical Romance), which used a kiss-a-day bargain to devastating effect. Hunter suffers from the comparison; the chemistry between Verity and Hawkeswell is not strong, and the kisses don't do much to bridge the gap between them.

I didn't feel the chemistry between them, and by the end, I still didn't feel like they belonged together.more
Lord Hawkeswell stumbles upon his wife, Verity, who disappeared two years ago immediately after their wedding ceremony. Verity was forced into the marriage in order to protect the people closest to her but was betrayed when one of them "disappeared" anyways. She tried to fake her death and has been hiding at Rarest Blooms, a successful florist outside of London. The story is pretty typical of the "forced to wed and must learn to love each other" subgenre. The depiction of the unrest among industrial workers in the North of England is interesting but doesn't really get enough development. A good read if you are a fan of Regency Romances, but not one of the best.more

Reviews

I really loved Ravishing in Red, the first in the Rarest Blooms quartet, but I admit to feeling tepid about Provocative in Pearls.

Generally I love stories about couples who are forced into marriage, as Verity and Hawkeswell are. Verity was bullied through the ceremony but after the vows were said and done, she runs away and ends up among the Rarest Blooms. That leaves Hawkeswell, who's badly strapped for cash, in the lurch. Because their marriage is unconsummated he can't access her fortune, but as long as she's presumed to be alive he can't marry anyone else.

When fate brings Hawkeswell and Verity back into contact, we find out that she's been operating based on a lot of false assumptions. She assumes that Hawkeswell has had access to her vast fortune during the two years she's been gone. She assumes that he's frivolous by nature and needs her money for wasteful luxuries. She assumes that he's in league with her cruel cousin, and that he'd be a controlling, unkind husband who would refuse her any goals and pursuits of her own.

You know what they say about assumptions? Because that's how I felt about Verity. For the first half of the novel her primary goal is to convince Hawkeswell to grant her an annulment. He's dead broke and getting an annulment would take time, years maybe, during which he'd be living on the knife's edge of poverty. That seems like a lot of ask from him when she can't be bothered to do some basic due diligence, find out who he is or what the marriage she's rejecting would be like.

For his part, Hawkeswell is determined to make the marriage work. He devises a scheme to seduce Verity, demanding three kisses a day, which reminded me of another book, Thunder and Roses (Signet Historical Romance), which used a kiss-a-day bargain to devastating effect. Hunter suffers from the comparison; the chemistry between Verity and Hawkeswell is not strong, and the kisses don't do much to bridge the gap between them.

I didn't feel the chemistry between them, and by the end, I still didn't feel like they belonged together.more
Lord Hawkeswell stumbles upon his wife, Verity, who disappeared two years ago immediately after their wedding ceremony. Verity was forced into the marriage in order to protect the people closest to her but was betrayed when one of them "disappeared" anyways. She tried to fake her death and has been hiding at Rarest Blooms, a successful florist outside of London. The story is pretty typical of the "forced to wed and must learn to love each other" subgenre. The depiction of the unrest among industrial workers in the North of England is interesting but doesn't really get enough development. A good read if you are a fan of Regency Romances, but not one of the best.more
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