This book was very different from the first installment of this series (Indiscreet). When reading this book you get the impression that the author was in a bit of a rush to tell a story but not committed to it’s outcome.
At the end of Indiscreet we find that Kenneth Woodfall, the Earl of Harverford needs to rush back home to Dunbarton Hall in Cornwall because he needs to marry a woman he hates since she will be having his baby in 6 months time. So based on the timeline of the novels, while Rex is getting in trouble with Caroline, Ken had already done his damage to his neighbor, Moira.
Moira Hayes has given up hope for a HEA after many years of hatred poisoning her heart for a man she once loved and that betrayed her. Her father has died and a distant relative has inherited her home. He has decided that Moira would make just as good of a wife as the next and formalizes that betrothal over the Xmas season. What Moira didn’t expect was that Ken would return to his home seat after 8 years absence and that the idiot that she is to marry wants to mend fences with the Earl.
The book is divided in two parts. Before the pregnancy and after. The first part we see the enmity between these two fester and explode after a Christmas Ball, where Moira’s pride gets her into a predicament that causes her to be trapped in a cabin under a snow storm with Ken.
The After takes place when Ken returns from the duel fought by Rex in Indiscreet. The hasty marriage and the terrible aftermath the day after the wedding. I can’t say what happens there since it would be a spoiler but Ken removes himself from his home a week after the wedding and spends two months in London with his buddies trying to forget. When that fails he decides that he must at least try to make the marriage work and calls for Moira to come up to London.
Now, first of all, the story is mostly narrated with an occasional dialog here and there. I don’t get that. There is a lot of story telling but not enough content that SHOWS us what is going on. I think Ken and Moira really shouldn’t have been together. Too much had gone on. There were too many misunderstandings that had sat in their hearts for too long. Then all of a sudden Moira goes off to London and within 24 hours discovers that SHE loves him. I could believe Ken’s affections since he only thought himself betrayed but Moira thought that Ken had not just betrayed her but also lied to her, caused her brother’s death and, if we follow the chain reaction, her own destitution.
I was very disappointed in this one and hope that the last in the trilogy will return to the first's great writting.