Reading novels set in the Victorian age have always frustrated me because back then women were perceived (and treated)by men as chattel. Yet, with A Convenient Pretense I found myself cheering on Emily in her struggles to live her life her way. Elaine Violette presents us with strong characters that go against the grain, as well as an accurate rendition of the strict mores of the era. In it, a feisty heroine who wants to be a poet instead of a wife and a noble earl who sees marriage as a future duty, scheme to avoid the influx of eligible men and women presented to them by pretending to court each other. Laced with original love poems, this beautifully written romance kept me riveted with the cat and mouse play between Emily and the Earl as they fight off admitting they love each other. Emily's father's serious illness coupled with an obnoxious cousin (the only male heir) who moves into her family home with plans to take over their estate adds drama and suspense to the story, making A Convenient Pretense a page-turning read.
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