Of all the peculiar and eccentric Hathaway siblings, Beatrix is possibly the freest spirit, the one most unorthodox and unlikely to fit comfortably into the staid norms of polite Victorian society. She rescues strays and injured animals and nurses them back to health, and if they can’t be released back into the wild, then she adopts them as pets, to the mixed amusement and frustration of the rest of her family. Her mischievous ferret was partially responsible for the match her sister Poppy made with Harry Rutledge, and somewhat instrumental in the romance of her governess Catherine Marks and her older brother Leo, as well. Sensitive, philosophical and with a deep love of animals, Beatrix has always been able to charm men, but she is not what they would consider a good marriage prospect.
So Beatrix has pretty much resigned herself that she will become the spinster aunt, when she overhears her friend Prudence complaining about the dull letters from her suitor, Captain Christopher Phelan. One of the handsomest and most eligible gentlemen in Hampshire, Captain Phelan has been called off to fight the war in Crimea. Prudence finds his letters deathly dull, and being a vivacious and attractive beauty, she has many more suitors available to her at home. She has no real intention of writing a reply to Christopher. Beatrix, despite the fact that she overheard Christopher dismissing her as fit only for the stables at a picnic (a comment Prudence saw fit to share with as many people as possible, ensuring that most of the county knew about it too), realises that someone has to write to the brave young man, to comfort him in the hell he’s living. She convinces Prudence to let her write a reply, then they’ll sign Prudence’s name to it, and no one will be the wiser. How does it turn out? Read the rest of my review to see.
For nearly three years, the secretive Miss Catherine Marks has been the governess and companion of the two youngest Hathaway sisters. As the family is unorthodox and eccentric, and two of the sisters have married Gypsies, it’s not the easiest task in the world for Miss Marks to instruct the girls on suitable behaviour, attire and conversation topics. She’s grateful for the safety and comfort the position provides, but lives in fear that one day the dark secrets of her past will come out, and she’ll be forced to leave them. The only fly in the ointment is Leo Hathaway, Lord Ramsey, a carefree and dissolute rake who takes great pleasure in needling and teasing her every time they meet. Lately, the teasing and barbs have changed in nature, though, and it seems as if there may be more than mutual loathing between the two of them.
Read the rest of the review on my blog. Review contains some spoilers for book 3 in the series, though, so be warned.
Poppy Hathaway is the second youngest of the Hathaway siblings, and frequently wishes that her family weren’t quite so unconventional and colourful. When her sister’s pet ferret runs off with one of her love letters, while her family are staying at the fashionable Rutledge hotel, she is desperate to retrieve it, so the truth of her secret courtship with the promising young isn’t revealed. She runs into Harry Rutledge, the enigmatic, powerful and reclusive owner of the hotel, who seems amuse and intrigued by her predicament.
While Harry may be a highly eligible bachelor, he hasn’t seriously considered marriage until he meets Poppy. It doesn’t take many meetings before he decides that he wants to have her, though, and he will use any trick necessary to win her, even if it means fighting very dirty indeed. Soon Poppy finds herself jilted by her gentle suitor, whose father has found out about their hopes, and not long after finds herself very publicly compromised by Harry Rutledge, who of course promises to marry her (despite assurances from her family that they’ll weather the scandal and she needn’t marry anyone at all), and give her everything she could have hoped or dreamed of. Except closeness and affection, as these are things Harry himself have never experienced either.
Full review on my blog.
2.5 stars (based entirely on all the other Hathaway siblings in this book, NOT the main couple).
Kev Merripen has loved Winnifred “Win” Hathaway since the first time he saw her, when her eccentric family took him in after the Gypsy tribe his uncle was the leader of left him injured and dying. Having been trained to fight anything and anyone, and been treated no better than a vicious dog, Merripen is hostile and distrustful at first, but the care and kindness of the various Hathaways, especially Win, ensures that the family have his undying loyalty. As the years go by, everyone in the family know that Merripen and Win love each other, but their feelings go unspoken, mainly because Merripen is convinced that Win is far too good for him, and he would harm her if he was with her.
Before Win goes to France with her brother Leo (now a Viscount after a distant cousin died and left Leo the only heir) to France to a health clinic (having never recovered entirely from a bout of scarlet fever that killed Leo’s fiancee which sent him into a destructive grief spiral), she tries to confront Merripen. They kiss, but he sends her away, heart-broken. She returns two years later, healthy and more beautiful than ever. Merripen has become cold and bitter, having used all his energies into getting the Hathaway estate into shape. He’s not happy to see that Win has brought along the handsome and charming doctor who runs the clinic, and who seems quite determined to marry her, if she’ll have him. Read my scathing thoughts on this book on my blog.