An Impossible Attraction
Harlequin HQN, Feb 23 2010, $7.99
Alexandra Bolton became a seamstress to bring in needed money for her family. However, in 1845 her wastrel widower father informs her he needs funds to pay debts so she will marry either wealthy middle aged Squire Denney or some other affluent member of the Ton. She reluctantly agrees to sacrifice her desires because of a death bed pledge she made to her mom to care for her two younger sisters.
Bolton and his three daughters attend a ball at the home of Sir Rex de Warenne and Lady Blanche. Alexandra realizes her arrival is a blunder as her friends treat her like hired help since she has been doing their sewing. When her father becomes too drunk, she tries to take him home. On the way out, Alexandra meets thirtyish wealthy Stephen, the Duke of Clarewood. They are attracted to one another until he has her. Her father tosses her to the street as a fallen woman and her Stephen rejects her believing she was trying to trap him.
This is a superb early Victorian romance starring a courageous woman and the man she loves who is in denial. The story line of a good woman “falling” to the street in rejection is not new (see Cheryl Holt’s Spinster Curse saga), but incredibly refreshed by Brenda Joyce with her strong casting and not just the lead couple. Fans will admire Alexandra's moral fortitude while knowing she will survive her ordeal but wonder if she will be with Stephen or a new beau Owen. Brenda Joyce is at her best, which says something about this novel, as her historicals are always excellent.