Review – Marry in Secret by Anne Gracie

About the Book:

A rugged and ruined naval officer comes to claim his bride in an unforgettable tale of love, revenge and redemption from the national bestselling author of Marry in Scandal

Lady Rose Rutherford—rebel, heiress, and exasperated target of the town’s hungry bachelors—has a plan to gain the freedom she so desperately desires: she will enter into a marriage of convenience with the biggest prize on the London marriage mart.

There’s just one problem: the fierce-looking man who crashes her wedding to the Duke of Everingham — Thomas Beresford, the young naval officer she fell in love with and secretly married when she was still a schoolgirl. Thought to have died four years ago he’s returned, a cold, hard stranger with one driving purpose—revenge.

Embittered by betrayal and hungry for vengeance, Thomas will stop at nothing to reclaim his rightful place, even if that means using Rose—and her fortune—to do it. But Rose never did follow the rules, and as she takes matters into her own unpredictable hands, Thomas finds himself in an unexpected and infuriating predicament: he’s falling in love with his wife….

Click on title below for direct Amazon buy link:                                                                       Marry in Secret (Marriage of Convenience Book 3)

My Review:

I received a complimentary copy of this book.

Rose Rutherford is about to make the marriage of the season.  As she and her duke, are exchanging vows, the ceremony is interrupted by ……. her husband!

When Rose was only sixteen, she met a young naval commander, Thomas Beresford, and they fell passionately in love.  They married in secret, and he soon had to return to his ship.  Within weeks of their wedding, Thomas and all of his crew were reported dead, leaving Rose a widow.  Heartbroken and unsure, Rose chooses to keep her brief marriage a secret, and remains at school and attempts to get on with her life.  Now twenty, Rose rejects any thoughts of love, and decides that a marriage of convenience is what she needs.  That will allow her to have children while avoiding any messy emotional entanglements.  When a young and wealthy duke makes a cold blooded marriage proposal, Rose accepts.

Thomas did not die as reported.  He and five of his men managed to survive, only to be captured and sold as slaves.  The last four years have been devastating to Thomas, as his refusal to act as a navigator for pirates has caused him to be reduced to being a galley slave, the lowest of the low.  He was freed, only by a miraculous event, and made his way home to Rose.  His arrival is ironically on her wedding day, and a scrawny and disheveled Thomas races to the church to stop the wedding.  He is so drastically changed that Rose doesn’t recognize him, until she looks into those blue eyes that she loved so dearly.

Amidst the chaos, the wedding is called off.  Rose is whisked home while her brother, Cal, confronts Thomas.  He can’t believe that Rose would marry in secret, much less to this beaten down, ragged man.  Cal is initially very hostile to Thomas, only thinking of having the marriage, if there is indeed a legal marriage, annulled.  He reluctantly agrees to take Thomas back to his home where the whole family can discuss the situation.

Though Rose is confused and still in shock, she defies her brother by stating that she will remain married to Thomas, as is her duty.  Thomas is hurt by Rose’s wanting to stay only out of duty, but he’s in no position to argue.  While he did marry her for love, he now has need of her fortune.  Thomas made a vow to go back and find and free his five comrades, and to do this, he will need much money to pay their ransoms.  He is also burning with desire to confront his uncle and cousin, both of whom refused to pay his own ransom to the pirates, which would have freed him.

Thomas is such a heartbreaking figure.  Thoughts of his young wife are what kept him going, and her reaction to him is far from what he hoped for.  Added to that is the blatant hostility from her relatives who are still urging her to annul the marriage.  Thomas also has to find out why his beloved relatives rejected him.  The navy refuses to help him rescue his men, and his body is still struggling to recover from years of abuse and malnutrition.  This is more than enough to break most men, but Thomas perseveres.

Rose is ashamed of her lack of welcome for Thomas, though the truth is that she was truly in shock.  As she finally begins to really accept that Thomas is genuinely alive and back in her life, she gains back some of her fire, and determines to create a home and life with her husband, whom she never stopped loving.  Their passion for each other is still burning hotly, and they slowly move forward, though Thomas is determined to go back to Mogador and rescue his friends.  Then the mysterious incidents begin to happen, and it’s clear that someone is out to permanently remove Thomas or Rose  — or, possibly, both.

MARRY IN SECRET is heartbreaking, emotional, and compelling, with several of the scenes bringing tears.  Thomas and Rose are so vividly portrayed that I could feel their anguish.  The romance and then the small steps that they take to rebuild their marriage are believably and realistically portrayed.  The mystery only added to the overall allure of this book, which I literally could not put down.  I love this well written book, and this couple, who endured so much, and who finally found a way to their happy future together.    ~Rose

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