At Last Comes Love. Mary Balogh. 2009. Random House. 416 pages.
When Duncan Pennethorne, Earl of Sheringford, returned to London after a five-year absence, he did not go immediately to Claverbrook House on Grosvenor Square, but instead took up a reluctant residence on Curzon Street with his mother, Lady Carling.
At Last Comes Love is the third in the Huxtable family series by Mary Balogh. It follows First Comes Marriage and Then Comes Seduction. (Though each book could be read as a stand-alone. They're not that dependent on one another.)
It is Margaret Huxtable's turn at last. She's the oldest sister, the self-sacrificing, good-natured caretaker of the family. In her youth, she was courted. Once. She thought she had an understanding with Crispin Dew. But war kept the two apart. And then he wed another. And then that was that. Margaret had an offer or two or three. But she wasn't in love with her would-be suitor, the Marquess of Allingham. So she said no to each of his proposals. But now that she's thirty, now that Crispin Dew has returned home a widower, now that she's been insulted and humiliated by Dew's condescending attitude, well, Margaret can't say yes fast enough. Now if she could only find someone to propose.
Duncan Pennethorne needs a bride--fast. If he doesn't get married before his grandfather's eightieth birthday--a mere two weeks away--then he'll lose almost everything. His grandfather will give his estate--well, the profits of that estate at least--to another. So Duncan is desperately seeking a woman--a good woman--to be his wife. She needs to be a proper lady--one accepted by Society--so that his grandfather approves.
So when Duncan and Margaret collide with one another at a dance, well, it could be destiny. He asks her to dance and to marry him in the same breath.
"Excuse me," she said when his grip on her arms did not loosen."Why?" he asked her, his eyes roaming boldly over her face. "What is your hurry? Why not stay and dance with me? And then marry me and live happily ever after with me?" Margaret was startled out of her panic. (43)Her answer? "Does it have to be in that order?"
As desperate as she is, she isn't taking Duncan's proposal seriously. Though he continues to act as if he is quite serious. But then Crispin Dew comes to "rescue" her from her dance partner. And well, Margaret takes a big risk. She introduces him to Dew as her betrothed. A shocking lie that could lead to a big scandal...
I loved this one. I think it is my favorite of the three. I liked Duncan and Margaret. I liked them as a couple.
© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews