THE PLOT: Cecilia Harcourt is in a tight spot. After her parents’ deaths, she and her sickly little sister Mary are under the guardianship of her tight-fisted aunt and uncle. They want Cece to marry their nasty son Percy so they get Cece’s dowry. Cece has written a romantic novel that she’s hoping to get published, thereby paying for Mary’s much-needed medicine and saving Cece from a horrible marriage. After being rejected by a publisher, a distraught Cece is on her way home when she’s hit by a carriage. But when Cece wakes up, she thinks she’s the main character from her book…and her rescuer is the character’s betrothed.
Adam Hunt, younger brother of the Duke of Claringdon, takes the unconscious young woman back to his brother’s home. When she wakes up, she proclaims that she is Lady Magnolia and Adam is her fiancé, the Duke of Loveridge, but she has no other real memories. The doctor recommends that Adam, his brother Derek, and sister-in-law Lucy play along with “Lady Magnolia’s” delusion until they can figure out who she is, or until the she regains her memory on her own. But Adam doesn’t count on developing feelings for their guest.
MY TWO CENTS: The setup of this is absolutely adorable. The amnesia plot gets a twist with Cece believing she’s her own fictitious character, and that Adam is the perfect duke she’s dreamed up. Adding Lucy (of Book 1, The Unexpected Duchess) to meddle is a perfect touch. The reader has to overlook the whole ludicrous “taking an amnesiac to a ball” part and just go with the story.
I’m just sorry Adam tripped the finish line. After being kind and caring for most of the story, he suddenly freaks out three-quarters of the way through and decides Cece has just been putting on an act. I guess that’s partially the author’s way of dealing with “they can’t possibly be in love after three days,” but I would have liked it better if he’d stayed her support system throughout. The story just didn’t need that added conflict.
BOTTOM LINE: Cute novella; a definite read if you’ve read all the other “Playful Brides.” But it would have been better if the hero hadn’t suddenly acted like a jerk.
TEACUP RATING: Three-and-a-half out of five teacups.
ON SALE DATE: Available February 2, 2016, in eformats.
Note: Review is based on an ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.