The Blurb (from Goodreads): Marry In Haste
Major Calbourne Rutherford returns to England on the trail of an assassin, only to find he’s become Lord Ashendon, with the responsibility for vast estates and dependent relatives. Cal can command the toughest of men, but his wild half-sisters are quite another matter. They might just be his undoing.
When he discovers that Miss Emmaline Westwood, the girls’ former teacher, guides them with ease, Cal offers her a marriage of convenience. But strong-minded and independent Emm is neither as compliant nor as proper as he expected, and Cal finds himself most inconveniently seduced by his convenient wife.
Emm knows they didn’t marry for love, yet beneath her husband’s austere facade, she catches glimpses of a man who takes her breath away. As pride, duty and passion clash, will these two stubborn hearts find more than they ever dreamed of?
Anne Gracie writes charming, warm-hearted Regency romances which never fail to make me laugh. They are the perfect reading for a cold, wet weekend when I was feeling worn-out and tired, overwhelmed by work and all that is going on in the world and in my life. I had read the first two books before, but had been waiting for the final book in the series to be released. I read them over the course of a long weekend – they are like chicken soup for the soul.
Marry In Haste is the first book in the series and tells the story of a British soldier-turned-spy who unexpectedly finds himself hampered with a title, a vast estate, numerous aged retainers and a handful of wilful half-sisters and a niece who never do what they are told. Floundering helplessly, he turns to their former school teacher for help. But Miss Emmaline Westwood has her own dreams, and turning governess is not one of them. Life has other plans for her, however, and soon the mismatched couple are marrying for convenience’s sake, much to the disapproval of his irascible Aunt Agatha, who must always have the last word.
Marry in Scandal is the story of one of his sisters, Lily, who struggles with dyslexia (though that word had not yet been invented). Her inability to read lands her in deep trouble; she is kidnapped by a cad who intends to force her into marriage. Lily manages to escape, and is helped to get home by one of her brother’s best friends, but the ensuing scandal means they must marry. Lily is in love with her new husband, but is afraid he resents her and does not care for her. She must find some way to understand him, while not letting him know that she cannot read, a handicap of which she is deeply ashamed.
Marry in Secret is centred on the older sister Rose, who married her childhood sweetheart in secret just before he was sent away to fight in the Napoleonic wars, only for him to be killed soon after. She has nursed her grief silently for all these years, and is about to marry a cold remote duke for the sake of practicality when her first husband turns up alive.
Marry in Scarlet, the last in the series, has their strong-willed unconventional niece George – who is the same age as her aunts – falling in love with the duke despite all her best intentions.
The four books are all very readable, with lots of humour and pathos, and the added delight of featuring cameo appearances from well-beloved characters from another of Anne Gracie’s Regency romance series, The Chance Sisters. I particularly love Anne Gracie’s sparkling dialogue – just delightful!