Never Less a Lady
Mary Jo Putney
Zebra, Mar 2010, $6.99
In 1812 Spain Lord Alexander Randall leads his unit in battle when he receives the cold note from his Uncle Lord Daventry to come home immediately as his cousin died making him the heir. Randall hates Daventry, but is sick of war so he decides to return to England. He also chooses to take his time before seeing his odious uncle who raised him when his parents died, but Daventry allowed his son Branford to bully the younger lad.
Randall stops at his friend Ashton’s home to thank him and his wife Mariah (see Loving a Lost Lord) for saving his life last year when he came to London wounded. Mariah suggests Randall visit her sister, but he might only to see Mrs. Julia Bancroft who he is attracted to though he hid his feelings from everyone.
Three men kidnap Julia. Randall learns of the abduction and gives chase. When the thugs stop, Randall grabs Julia from them when she goes to pee. They find shelter and she explains she was forced into marriage at sixteen to Daventry’s son Branford. He abused her and when she was pregnant started to kill her. She pushed him and he died when he cracked his head. His father blames her, but is unaware that Branford’s assault killed their unborn. He realizes she is no commoner midwife, but instead is his aristocratic cousin-in-law, a duke’s daughter. To keep her safe, Randall offers to marry Julia with an escape clause for her sake while also knowing the additional enemies he will make.
This is an exciting character driven Regency romance starring a wonderful lead couple who marry to keep her safe, but fall in love. The support characters are strong especially the outspoken women. Although her stepson adapts to his new world with hardly a blink, which simplifies everything for the lead couple, fans will enjoy this rousing sequel.