Lady in Waiting (Reluctant Brides #1) by Marie Tremayne
Series: Reluctant Brides #1
Publisher: Harper Collins, Avon Impulse
Publication Date: March 13th 2018
Genres: Historical Romance
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She wants to escape her present . . .
When Clara Mayfield helps her sister elope, she’s prepared for the scandal to seal her fate as a spinster. What she doesn't expect is to find herself engaged to the vile Baron Rutherford as a means of salvaging her family's reputation. Determined not to be chained to a man she loathes, Clara slips out of Essex and sheds her identity: she becomes Helen, maid at the Earl of Ashworth’s country estate. After all, below stairs is the last place anyone would think to look for an heiress . . .
He wants to forget his past . . .
William, Lord Ashworth, is attempting to rebuild his life after the devastating accident that claimed the lives of his entire family, save his beloved sister and niece. Haunted by memories of what was and determined to live up to the title he never expected to inherit, William doesn’t have time for love. What he needs is a noble and accomplished wife, one who can further the Ashworth line and keep the family name untarnished . . .
Together, can they find the perfect future?
From their first encounter, the attraction between them is undeniable. But Clara knows William is falling for Helen, a woman who doesn’t even exist. The question is, if she reveals the truth about her identity, can she trust the broken William to forgive her lie and stand by her side when scandal—and the baron—inevitably follow her to his door?
After helping her sister elope, Clara Mayfield is not someone that the ton wants to associate themselves with. After a whole season of being a wallflower Clara is approached by a reprehensible man named Baron Rutherford. He basically threatens her with marriage and to my shock her parents accept his proposal the next day. Six weeks later Clara is climbing out her bedroom window the night before her wedding in order to escape her fate.
With the help of her lady’s maid she finds a position with the Earl of Ashford’s household in Kent. Clara, now Helen, barely gets a position as a maid and when she does she doesn’t really have a clue what she’s doing, obviously. She is helped by her fellow, friendly maids but none of them can teach her how to keep her mouth shut when needed. She is outspoken when she shouldn’t be and it’s constantly a trial to try to act like a maid.
The Earl of Ashford has been in seclusion since a carriage accident killed his father, older brother and brother-in-law. He was in the accident as well and has had to deal with the physical, but mostly emotional, pain of losing so many in his family. When William sees Clara in the village and then saves her from getting run over he’s smitten from minute one. When she becomes a maid in his household it’s all he can do to keep her at arm’s length when she affects him so deeply. Can he keep himself away from the Helen as he knows he should? Will Clara continue to be able to hide from Baron Rutherford? Will she be able to live with her love for William, never being able to show it because of their differences in station?
The book started off just jumping straight into Clara’s sister’s elopement and then her impending, unwanted marriage. I loved how the author just got right down to it. We knew all the details but as that wasn’t the main part of the story it was nice to be able to get the facts and move on. Don’t get me wrong, it was well written, I was just happy that the author didn’t spend an unneeded amount of time on laying out the story.
Clara was awesome. I loved her strength of character, her compassion, friendliness and almost everything else about her. I can’t imagine how hard it was for a woman raised in wealth (her father was a banker) to suddenly be ordered around and do the back-breaking work that maids did back then. It couldn’t have been easy, but she didn’t complain and learned what she needed to learn in order to keep herself hidden. She was a genuinely nice person and that helped her win friends in the end.
William took me a little longer to like. The man was hot and cold but I really tried not to fault him for that as he was trying to be honorable and not make a move on his housemaid! He tried to keep himself away, he did! Some of his actions were a bit abrupt but I got it.
I really enjoyed this book and how it was written. I’m definitely looking forward to reading the next book in the series.
Rating: 4 out of 5