Do you like fake engagement tropes? Forced proximity? Enemies to lovers? This has all of them!
Also, this is book one of the series, but the author barely touched on the couple who will be featured in book two. No sequel bait here! Just a gentle intro for two people.
A Victorian Rake versus the Perfect Lady. She’s addicted to fern hunting and keeping her reputation squeaky clean. After all, her sister’s debut is looming, and scandal just won’t do! Plus, she has to think of her group. Fathers won’t let their daughters hunt ferns if it appears to be a scurrilous activity.
Lady Emily knows how badly the notorious rake can damage her reputation. When he wants to tag along on the pteridology group’s expedition, Lady Emily is on guard to fight any and all advances.
Lord Markshall knows that his notoriety makes him unworthy of Lady Emily, but that doesn’t stop him from craving more of her time. He follows her as she searches the forest floor, and just as she suspected, disaster befalls the couple.
The ground gives way beneath their feet and they end up stuck in an old mineshaft. Being alone with a man is unseemly, but with a known rake? Calamitous. The gossip mongers will speculate wildly and create a fictional sequence of events worthy of any novel. Her whole family will suffer.
Marriage to a libertine is unthinkable. However, a fake engagement just might save both their reputations- good and bad. After all, Markshall’s political career is based on manipulation and disguise. The fact that he’s a womanizer helps him blend in with the other men in his club. He can’t be tied down to this Lady known to have such high standards.
When the newspaper's gossip column starts edging too close to the truth, everything the Lady and Lord have worked for is threatened. Can they find a way to work together and solve all their problems?
Let me just say this- I was freaking blindsided by who did what in this tale. That is very hard to accomplish. I almost always figure out the whodunits.
I’m very impressed with the author’s website too. If you click over to books then content warnings, each of her stories has a list of warnings for language, nudity, etc. But check this out- there’s also detailed trigger warnings. You can stop yourself from being blindsided with situations you don’t like or can’t handle. I love an author who takes care of their readers!
See? I knew I’d get all giddy writing this review. I can highly recommend one-clicking. It’s well written, it has awesome plot twists that I didn’t see coming, the characters are captivating… just buy the thing already!
Does this book contribute to or help crush the romance stigma?
This book CRUSHES the romance stigma.
Other reading suggestions
We put together a list not too long ago that featured some of our all-time favorite trend-busting historical romances. Check it out!