About the Book:
A marriage hiding secrets
…but forged by passion!
A Penniless Brides of Convenience story. Miss Estelle Brannagh has never met a man who’s tempted her to renounce her hard-won independence—until an encounter with Irish landowner Aidan Malahide blossoms into spine-tingling attraction. He’s carefree and charismatic; accepting his proposal seems practical and shockingly desirable! Yet Aidan is hiding a dark secret, and it will take all of Estelle’s courage to ensure it doesn’t tear them apart…
Click on title below for direct buy link: The Truth Behind Their Practical Marriage (Penniless Brides of Convenience Book 3)
Estelle Brannagh is in Florence, enjoying the beautiful city, and pondering her uncertain future. Her two sisters have married, and she has left her aunt’s household to travel. She sees a handsome gentleman, and they play a game of covertly looking at each other while trying not to meet the other’s eyes. After a couple days of this, the man, Aidan Malahide, finally approaches Estelle. Aidan is Irish, a widower, who has taken a one year sabbatical from the running of his estate, and has been traveling, as well. Estelle and Aidan hit it off, and begin spending much of their time together, sharing meals, walks, the touristy sites, and laughter.
They discuss their dreams, and both discover they would very badly like to have children. Aidan, however, is determined to never marry again, while Estelle would make a convenient marriage, but never one for love. She saw what “love” did to her parents, turning their passion for each other into a series of battles, reconciliations, and unspeakable hurt. Aidan and Estelle are so in sync, that it’s inevitable that they would share some kisses, neither of them realizing what is patently obvious – they are falling rapidly in love. As the time grows nearer for them to part, it’s breaking both their hearts. Though they haven’t known each other that long, they agree to marry – in name only – and adopt children to create the family they both want more than anything.
The newlyweds return to Cashel Duairc, Aidan’s home, and almost immediately Aidan begins to change from the charming, happy man she met in Florence to a sadder, quieter, uneasy version of himself. He flatly refuses to discuss his first wife, and any of her possessions can throw him into a panic. There are still occasional happy moments and kisses, but they are becoming fewer and farther between. Aidan sees what his behavior is doing to Estelle, but he’s unable to control his reactions. He notices how now she has lost her spontaneity, something he loved about her, and guards what she says, choosing her words carefully, so she doesn’t upset him.
Finally, Aidan realizes he has to share the truth about his first marriage. He tells Estelle how they started out happily enough, but as each month passed without a child being conceived, his first wife changed from concerned to obsessed. Her behavior and actions had a strong effect on Aidan, both emotionally and physically. Eventually her tragic death was almost a relief for Aidan, but it still left him with a heavy burden of guilt for the part he unwittingly played. Now Aidan realizes that he doesn’t deserve happiness, and he was a fool to try and find it with Estelle. Before he destroys her, he decides that he has to send her away, and so they separate.
THE TRUTH BEHIND THEIR PRACTICAL MARRIAGE is hard to read – and by that, I’m not referring to the quality of the writing, as it’s quite superb, and I couldn’t tear myself away from the book. I mean that it’s so painful to see Aidan’s suffering and pain. The beautiful days they shared in Florence are like a romantic interlude, full of life and laughter and kisses. Then their life at the dark castle is fraught with doubt, uncertainty, and unhappiness. I did feel the “Rebecca” vibes, even before I read that this was Marguerite Kaye’s intent. There was even initially a creepy housekeeper, though, thankfully, she was nothing like the one in the classic novel. I fell in love with this couple as they were unknowingly falling in love in Florence, and while I knew why Estelle wanted to avoid love, I couldn’t understand why Aidan would agree to a platonic marriage when he had such a passionate response to Estelle there. It was heartbreaking to watch them part, but the time away from each other gave them both the opportunity to see things more clearly. Aidan, in particular, was able to search his soul, and set himself on a path of healing. Their reconciliation was wonderful, and I’m hoping that the final book in this excellent quartet will contain a snippet about their beginning the family they both desire so greatly. THE TRUTH BEHIND THEIR PRACTICAL MARRIAGE is very intense and ranges from lightly romantic to atmospheric to despairing to hopeful. It’s fabulously written and totally engrossing. Prepare to be captivated. ~Rose