Author: Karen Tuft
Genres: Historical Romance
Format: Audio, eBook, Print
Date: December 1, 2017
Renowned actress Ruby Chadwick, The Darling of Drury Lane, has long planned and prepared for her final performance. With exceptional beauty comes the unwanted attention of men, and after years of fending off odious suitors, Ruby is ready to leave it all behind in favor of a quiet life. The first step is to reclaim a piece of her past: her true identity as Lavinia Fernley. But leaving town unnoticed proves impossible, and in one desperate moment, she embarks on the greatest act of her life when she throws herself into the arms of a stranger to avoid recognition.
Lucas Jennings is shocked to find the stunning redhead in his arms, but something moves him to play along with her ruse when she calls him her husband. This charade marks the start of an unpredictable journey as he escorts the lovely Lavinia and her traveling companions to Primrose Farm, far from the glaring lights of London. Soon, the tables are turned when Lucas introduces Lavinia to his family—as his fiancée. Before long, their mutual deception begins to feel all too real. But when the truth of her past is revealed, will Lavinia’s dream of a happy ending slip through her fingers?
What a fun book this was to read. Ruby Chadwick, The Darling of Drury Lane, wants to retire from the spotlight. She’s tired of pretending to be someone else, and fending off the advances of men who don’t really care about her (Lavinia Fernley), just Ruby the actress. She hatches a plan to sneak out of town after her latest show but she gets separated from her three friends (Delia, Artie and Hannah) because they go to the wrong inn where they’re to spend the night. This leads to her literally running into Lucas Jennings’ arms, to avoid some friends of lord Cosgrove, and telling him to pretend to be her husband!! This is only the beginning of this fun Regency romance.
Lavinia and Lucas get to know each other on their way to the farm where she and her friends are going to live, but when they get to the farm it’s not at all what Lavinia had pictured in her mind. Lucas, ever the gentleman, can’t leave her and her three elderly friends in the uninhabitable house, so he invites them to stay at his family’s home, where he unexpectedly introduces Lavinia as his fiancée!! Ever the actress Lavinia plays along. Of course the truth eventually comes out, but it all works out in the end for everyone.
I thought this was a delightful read. Lavinia’s “friends” are the only family she has left–Hannah was her nursemaid and helped keep her from the ugly side of the acting world while she grew up. Delia and Artie are long-time actors she’s known since she was a child. Delia and Artie have their idiosyncrasies which I found brought humor to the story. They’ve been actors so long it’s almost like they can’t turn it off and be normal people.
I liked both of the main characters–Lavinia and Lucas. You can see Lavinia and Lucas falling in love with each other on the journey. They each have issues to overcome–she had a different upbringing since her father was an actor and she followed in his footsteps, and Lucas isn’t the oldest son so he isn’t titled so he chose to join the military. He’s just returning home after years of being away. He feels he doesn’t have much to offer a wife since he has no title, and no source of income since he’s left the military.
This book has a lot of heart and quite a few laughs. It’s definitely a clean romance. Karen Tuft is a new author to me but I think I’ll be reading other books by her.
I enjoyed this story. I was able to envision the scenes in my mind as I read, almost like a movie. I enjoyed the actors particularly and their lovely relationship with each other; not related, yet family. I also enjoyed Lucas and his family, particularly Susan who had some strong feminist views. There wasn’t anyone in this book that I didn’t like excepting the ones we are supposed to hate. It was a fun, slightly farcical read.
Sex: Vague innuendo as the bad guy wants to make Lavinia his mistress but she rejects his and all advances. some kisses
Violence: no but I kinda would have enjoyed Lord Cosgrove getting knocked on his kisser.