I've been on a historical romance binge lately and so when I read the blurb for this book up on NetGalley I immediately requested it.
Annabelle has been hiding in a town called Loves Bridge for the past twenty years. Her dad, a vicar, threw her out of In the Spinster's Bed (Spinster House, #0.5)the house the night he learns she's been compromised beyond repair. Of course he does this soon after he beats the heck out of poor Annabelle.
With no where to turn (the love of her life was sent back to Oxford), Annabelle takes matters into her own hands and decides to make the best of her misfortune.
Fast-forward twenty years. It turns out she wasn't so unfortunate after all. Not when she somehow found a way to make do and live life the best way she knows how. Except she never imagines seeing William ever again, until he shows up by mistake at the library she works at.
Now she goes by an alias, as she doesn't want to be associated with her dad (the vicar in London). Obviously William isn't buying it. Like her, she's been the love of his life. The only downside is he is married--married to someone who doesn't care a fig about him. He's looking to hide somewhere in this town as a result of the latest scandal his wife has caused.
He plays along with Annabelle until he gets tired of it and tells her to her face to stop pretending to be someone she isn't. Things get heated between them, but Annabelle stops them because somewhere deep down in her she doesn't want to be the "other woman".
And what do you know?
The impediment for the two of them to be together is removed. Yeah. His scandalous wife happens to die. And because that isn't enough, William's family suffers a greater tragedy. He goes from being the spare of a spare to being a Duke.
The story was well written and the first few chapters are a total hook. It kept me wondering what would happen next? Would Annabelle give in and sleep with William? What would William do with his wife? Would he divorce her? Etc, etc, etc. But then there's a cat that appeared out of nowhere, that it would've added to the plot of the story if there'd been an explanation as to its appearance. Unless (because it's a she) the cat is the reincarnation of the scorned woman who cursed the owner of the house years and years ago. Still. That wasn't explained, so it left me as a reader wondering what was up with the cat. Then, William's wife, father, and brothers' deaths were just a bit too much--too unbelievable. How doomed could someone be to go from being married to single in a matter of months, and from being the spare of spare to a Duke. Just saying. Last, Annabelle not telling William about her miscarriage, and hanging on to the secret for about half (or maybe more) the story was a bit overdone.
Though this is a 2.5 stars for me, it's still a short, enjoyable read (if you're okay with unbelievable tragedies)..