This is a lovely Regency era romance, with Lady Violet Devere betrothed to the handsome Viscount Hargrove, Nathaniel Gresham. Although it is an arranged marriage rather than a love match, Violet is so looking forward to the freedom that comes with being a married woman, especially since her grandmother has ruled the household with an iron fist while she was growing up. She has always had to wear unfashionable, extremely modest, even unattractive clothing and hairstyles and she longs for the day when she can choose what she wants.
And Nathaniel, who will be the next Duke of Langford, has always been devoted to his family and knows what is expected of him. Being the eldest of six sons, he knows that he must set an example for his brothers and also is the one to help them resolve whatever scrapes in which they find themselves. He has decided that it’s time he marry and he deems Lady Violet an extremely suitable candidate from an impeccable background who will make a charming Duchess.
After the marriage, things go exceeding well and Nathaniel willingly caters to all his wife’s whims, especially as he finds her an extremely passionate and willing bed mate. But Violet, eager to develop her own style and become her husband’s perfect companion, finds her grandmother is still the same harshly critical and unlikable person she’s always been and she isn’t really sure why. Nathaniel helps Violet learn to stand up to her grandmother, but in doing so, she eventually learns a family secret that would doom her marriage if Nathaniel ever found out. And Nathaniel becomes more and more distracted by dealing with the unceasing requests of his brothers and longs for something other than responsibility in his life.
There’s a secondary story involving a married friend of Violet’s who is carrying on what would nowadays be a rather tame flirtation with another man and uses the unwitting Violet as a cover for her trysts. All in all, it’s quite a fun book and just the beginning of the series, as there are five more Gresham brothers that I’m sure we’ll be hearing about! I received this as an ARC from the publisher through NetGalley.