Never Fall for Your Fiancée

St. Martin’s Griffin. (The Merriwell Sisters, Bk. 1). Nov. 2021. 368p. ISBN 9781250787767. pap. $16.99. HISTORICAL ROMANCE
You can’t break someone’s heart with your inevitable dalliances if you never get married. At least that’s what Hugh Standish, Earl of Fareham, believes. He has done everything he can think of to dissuade potential matches, including playing the part of a rake and inventing a fiancé to appease his meddling mother. After two years of this increasingly convoluted charade, his mother is returning from America and Hugh is sure the jig is up. When he bumps into Minerva Merriwell, who shares a name and bearing with his invented betrothed, Hugh offers to pay her 40 pounds to pretend to be his fiancé. Minerva has her own reasons to not trust men, even ones as honest about their faults as Hugh, but she’s down to her very last shilling and the money would be life-altering for her and her sisters. Between Hugh’s determined mother and Minerva’s outspoken sisters, keeping the charade afloat means frequent meetings between the pair to determine their next steps. As planning turns to flirting, Hugh begins to wonder if he can break the family history of philandering while Minerva remains unsure if Hugh can be better than the men in her past.
VERDICT Readers will relish this engaging, late Regency romcom’s witty duo as they navigate escalating mishaps and growing feelings. Heath (“The King’s Elite” series) has set the stage for an enjoyable new series.
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