by Diana Quincy
Series: Accidental Peers #2
Genres: Historical Romance
Purchase*: Amazon *affiliate
Mirabella can hardly remember the man she married as a girl. And it’s just as well. She feels nothing but contempt for the man who wed her for her fortune and promptly forgot she existed. The ton may call him “The Saint” but Bella knows better. Forced to marry as a teen to rescue his family from certain ruin, Sebastian has been apart from his child bride since their wedding day. When he encounters an enchanting impish beauty at the opera, he’s is thrilled to find she is none other than his long-ago bride and he is more than ready to make her his wife in truth. Too bad the beguiling beauty has no intention of coming meekly to the marriage bed.
I love arranged marriage tropes and Diana Quincy offered up a most unusual one in Tempting Bella the second book in the Accidental Peers series. While I did not read Seducing Charlotte the first book, each works as a standalone. With fleshed out characters, intriguing secondary characters and a unique arrangement I became completely caught up in the tale. Mini-review: intriguing, romantic, witty and refreshing.
A marriage arranged between the Duke of Wentworth and Cyrus Stanhope to pay off a gambling debt. The Duke marries off his thirteen-year-old daughter, Mirabella Wentworth to the 3rd son of Stanhope, Sebastian who is barely nineteen. Deeds are drawn up, and the marriage will be consummated when Mirabella comes of age. Sebastian sets off to learn his duties and run the estates, while Mirabella finishes school and then with his permission tours the world. It is six years before they meet again, and the tale that unfolds was positively delightful with strong feisty characters and intrigue.
Mirabella or Bella is a very smart woman, who learns the running of estates while abroad and is keen on keeping the duchy secure. A Duchess by birth, she is determined to make sure her husband doesn’t run her estates into the ground. She is headstrong, opinionated and doesn’t fully understand the circumstances behind her arranged marriage. Sebastian is a good man, noble and determined to restore the dukedom coiffures to their former glory. He feels bad for Bella and hasn’t forced her to return. For the first time, a young woman he meets stirs his needs and he realizes he must call his wife home. I so enjoyed the banter and cat and mouse game between these two. I laughed, sighed and wanted to knock them over the head. Secondary characters from an old mistress to Bella’s wayward friends added to the drama and kept me flipping the pages.
Tempting Bella was a delightful tale, and Quincy offered a different twist to the arranged marriage trope. She weaved in drama and suspense with clever little twists that kept me on the edge. The sexual tension between Sebastian and Bella was delicious. They bickered, and Bella’s independent streak led to some humorous situations and life lessons. I loved the growth we saw from them, and the depth Quincy brought to the characters. Devilishly handsome and anal about order, Sebastian, was a pleasure to read about. I loved how Bella twisted him about, and the more we learned about him, the harder I fell. This was positively delightful!
Fans of historical romance with strong, opinionated and flawed characters will love the tale that unfolds in Tempting Bella. Compromising Willa the third book is due out December of 2013, and the fourth book, Engaging the Earl is expected to release in 2014. I am looking forward to reading them.