Tracy‘s review of The Secret Wedding by Jo Beverley
He had never intended to marry, but at the age of sixteen Christian Hill impulsively defended a maid’s honor only to be blamed for defaming it, and was coerced into marrying Dorcas Froggatt. But then he left to pursue his military career, putting the surreal event out of his mind. Until someone begins making inquiries about a man named Jack Hill—the alias he used when he wed Dorcas years before…
The blurb pretty much wraps up the set up to the story. Christian is young, honorable and impulsive. Unfortunately when he saves 14 year old Dorcas’ honor he gets himself into a situation he can’t get out of. It’s either marry Dorcas or go to the hangman. He wisely chooses the wedding but he does so under the name of Jack Hill.
Skip forward 10 years later. Inquiries are being made as to where Jack Hill is. Unfortunately the military can’t seem to locate him. Christian is asked if he knows the man. He states no and goes on his merry way. It finally hits him that Jack Hill is the false name he had given at his wedding 10 years before. However two years after the wedding he had received word that his bride had died. Then who would be looking for Jack Hill? Christian decides to investigate.
Caro Hill is Dorcas Froggat. She now goes by her abbreviated middle name and her married name but is it enough to keep Christian off of her trail? Caro has decided to marry again. She had received a letter two years after her 1st wedding stating that her groom had died. However certain happenings have made her doubt that it’s true. She wants to find out if she is indeed free to marry.
Christian and Caro end up meeting in a huge tangle of lies, not knowing that the other is their husband/wife and therefore someone they had wanted to avoid. Despite the lies these two come together in a most odd fashion but it is wonderful to see the romance blossoming even under extreme circumstances.
I loved the first part of this book – I was reading at lightning speed and couldn’t gobble it up enough. Christian and Caro’s meeting and subsequent bizarre yet touching romance was something I was truly enjoying. The problem for me in the book came in the reading of the second half. I found myself putting it down often and that’s never a good sign – at least for me. Caro finding out that Christian’s family needs money and her wanting to protect what her family put blood, sweat and tears into earning (she was quite wealthy) was understandable. However I thought her character went too far in the “he’s not getting my money” bit really made me start to dislike the heroine somewhat. Yes, it’s true, those are realities but I would have liked just a tad bit less reality in this case.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5