Here’s the premise: widow Rosalinde Wilde is travelling to join her sister who is shortly to be married to an earl, a loveless but pragmatic marriage. Rosalinde is determined to ensure that nothing happens to stop the wedding, for reasons of her own. But the journey is hit by an unseasonable snowstorm (in October? I’d love to know what part of Britain this is, but I don’t recall seeing any mention of a county). Forced to seek shelter, she finds herself stranded at a crowded roadside inn for the night. And there she meets a mysterious but exceptionally handsome man. And she’s an exceptionally beautiful woman… so the inevitable one-night-stand ensues. And the next day they inevitably discover that they are bound for the same place. He is the groom’s brother, and is determined to stop the wedding taking place. Just as determined as Rosalinde, in fact.
So there we are with two characters who hate each other’s guts because they’re on opposite sides of the wedding drama, yet who can’t set eyes on each other without melting into puddles of lust, which they are powerless to resist. Of course they are. It’s hard to imagine any real-world people who could be sworn enemies yet unable to keep their hands off each other, but this all comes back to the matter of switching off the logical part of the brain I mentioned. So they fight and then fall into bed, and sometimes they fall into bed and then fight, and so it goes. In the background are the soon-to-be-happy couple, who are dizzyingly indifferent to each other, Rosalinde’s highly unpleasant grandfather who has engineered the marriage and isn’t about to let anything spoil his plans, thank you very much, and a few minor characters.
The story unfolds pretty much as any regular reader of Regencies could have foretold, but that isn’t a criticism. Yes, it’s cliched and predictable and the multitude of sex scenes got boring pretty quickly, but I still enjoyed this much more than I expected. Despite a few triggers to my pedantometer (two cousins vying for a dukedom? The huge wedding with a multitude of guests?), the Regency atmosphere was evoked very well, although I had to laugh at the number of times characters were strolling about outdoors in the evening, despite that life-threatening snowstorm earlier! The implausibilities pile up rather towards the end of the book, but with my brain switched off I enjoyed it pretty well and got thoroughly swept up in the family shenanigans. Four stars.