With her brother Thomas injured on the battlefront in the Colonies, orphaned Cecilia Harcourt has two unbearable choices: move in with a maiden aunt or marry a scheming cousin. Instead, she chooses option three and travels across the Atlantic, determined to nurse her brother back to health. But after a week of searching, she finds not her brother but his best friend, the handsome officer Edward Rokesby. He’s unconscious and in desperate need of her care, and Cecilia vows that she will save this soldier’s life, even if staying by his side means telling one little lie…
I told everyone I was your wife
When Edward comes to, he’s more than a little confused. The blow to his head knocked out six months of his memory, but surely he would recall getting married. He knows who Cecilia Harcourt is—even if he does not recall her face—and with everyone calling her his wife, he decides it must be true, even though he’d always assumed he’d marry his neighbor back in England.
If only it were true…
Cecilia risks her entire future by giving herself—completely—to the man she loves. But when the truth comes out, Edward may have a few surprises of his own for the new Mrs. Rokesby.
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The Girl With The Make-Believe Husband: A Bridgertons Prequel (Rokesbys)
Cecilia Harcourt lives a quiet life in the country, spending her time taking care of her father and their home. Her beloved brother, Thomas, is a soldier who is stationed in America, and Cecilia writes to him regularly. Over the course of their correspondence, Cecilia has become “acquainted” with Thomas’s fellow soldier and dear friend, Edward Rokesby. Because Cecilia’s letters were so frequent and amusing, Thomas shared them with Edward, who initially began asking Thomas to put in a line from him. Soon Cecilia and Edward are writing notes to each other at the end of the letters to and from Thomas, and become affectionate long distance friends. Truth be told, they each fell a little bit in love from those letters though neither realized it.
All within a short space of time, Cecilia’s father dies, and she receives word that Thomas has been injured. A nasty cousin comes sniffing around her home, expecting to inherit if Thomas should die, and attempts to convince Cecilia that she should marry him. When no further word is received about Thomas, Cecilia makes the bold decision to travel to America and find out what is happening. Her inquiries are coming to a dead end and she can’t find Thomas, but she does find that Edward has been injured and is a patient in a hospital. She is refused permission to visit him, so she concocts the story that she is his wife. When she’s finally allowed to see Edward, he is unconscious with a head injury, so she takes on the task of caring for him.
When Edward begins to regain consciousness, he’s still muddled, but he immediately recognizes Cecilia from a miniature portrait Thomas has. Cecilia expects to be immediately ousted from the hospital when Edward denounces her as his wife, but he doesn’t. The head injury has caused Edward to not remember the last three months, so he accepts the tale of his marriage. While Cecilia’s intentions were totally honorable – she only wanted to care for Edward – it seems she’s now dug herself into a hole of deception that just keeps getting deeper.
I absolutely love the affection that Cecilia and Edward feel for each other right from the beginning, it just jumps off the pages. Edward is such a gentleman, and he totally trusts that Cecilia is telling him the truth. I adore the way he treats her, with care and respect. Cecilia has fallen in love, and though she intends to tell Edward the truth, she can’t seem to work up the courage to do so. I understand why she initially kept the deception going, but after Edward left the hospital, I feel that she let things go for too long.
Soon, Edward begins to remember bits and pieces of the last months, and he becomes more confused about his supposed marriage. Cecilia knows that Edward is supposedly almost engaged to a neighbor back home in England, and she also knows that he will marry her out of a sense of honor when he learns the truth. Can a fledgling love survive this kind of deception? What has happened to Thomas, and was Edward involved? While I generally really dislike stories that involve deception, THE GIRL WITH THE MAKE BELIEVE HUSBAND is an exception, and I totally enjoyed it. The romance is heartfelt, and I could feel this couple’s love right from the beginning. There is some heartbreak along the way to their happy ending, but I can heartily recommend this latest offering from Julia Quinn.