One Night In London
by Caroline Linden
(Avon, $7.99, PG-13) ISBN 978-006-202532-6
***
This is the beginning of a series about three brothers whose name and inheritance are in question as a result of their father’s marriage prior to that of the marriage with their mother…yes it might be as scandalous as bigamy. And dear old dad didn’t tell them until he was on his deathbed.

The heir, Gresham is very full of life, flaunting his title and behaving in ways that allow his reputation to exceed what even the most serious rake could accomplish. Gerald, the youngest is in the army and he too is known for some antics beyond the pale. Only Edward de Lacey is considered staid and cool like his father. He is responsible for running the estates and for making sure the dukedom is solvent. He is engaged to the type of woman he should be and is the only one thinking properly about how to prove their right to the inheritance. Edward hires the best lawyer he can find and prepares for battle.

But battles often come when least expected and his battle begins when Lady Francesca Gordon, a widow, invades his home, demanding he assist her since he stole her lawyer. Francesca is trying to win custody of her niece, the daughter of her deceased sister. Georgina’s father remarried and despite telling Francesca that he wanted her to raise Georgina, he died before he could put anything in writing. The new wife has decided to keep Georgina and has in fact run away and is now in hiding. Francesca is determined to find them and take Georgina away to raise her as her sister would have wanted.

These two legal battles intersect with the battle of wits and will between Francesca and Edward. Edward finds himself unengaged when the scandal surfaces, but he is almost happy due to his attraction to Francesca. Their mutual attraction is immediate and their love story is the essence of the tale. Their romance was generally mature and loving.

I enjoyed this tale yet, there were times when there was no movement or momentum. There was just a little bit of lust, a little bit of regret and a lot of talk. While this allowed the reader to get to know some things and set the stage for future stories, it did nothing to enhance the romance. Luckily, the beginning was very engaging and the ending equally so. If the reader can plow through some of the middle section which is full of laments and second guessing, then One Night in London will ultimately satisfy.

--Shirley Lyons


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