A Wedding in Springtime
by Amanda Forester
(Sourcebooks, $6.99, G) ISBN 978-14022-7178-6
Never having read this author, I was looking forward to a new discovery. Sadly, this story was long, convoluted and one that I struggled to finish. Having said that, I must acknowledge there were parts that were entertaining, but not enough to raise the overall rating.

The story begins as Eugenia Talbot is making her debut to the Queen of England. Her dress is very wide; her headdress heavy and she is nervous. It was hardly her fault that one of the Lords in attendance was loudly flatulent and that one of the bystanders winked at her to keep from laughing himself. She really tried to control herself but failed. Now she is the talk of the ton and ruined. She is fearful her sponsoring aunt will be sending her home without her season.

The man who winked is none other than confirmed rake William Grant. He is known as a rake and enjoys the distinction. But he is intrigued by Genie and when they keep bumping into each other, he does nothing to keep his amusement from showing. They are often thrown together due to a subplot.

This plot involves the Duke of Marchmont, who is supposed to marry Eugenia’s cousin Louisa. They are betrothed and have been ever since Marchmont’s brother died before he and Louisa could marry. Now the betrothal has been passed down as well as the title. The problem is that neither knows the other, let alone loves the other. Marchmont has been putting things off for over three years and is starting to feel the noose tighten. Also involved in this is the Dowager Duchess, Marchmont’s grandmother and her newly hired companion Penelope Rose.

Penelope is the middle of five daughters and the plainest of the lot. At almost 30 she is on the shelf. She and the Dowager hatch a matchmaking scheme in order to earn some money so they can remain in London in case Marchmont carries through with his threats to send the Dowager to a country estate. And amidst all of this is a plot to gain some valuable information from Marchmont that would aid Napoleon and harm England. Did I mention that the plot line was convoluted?

The story moves along as Eugenia is looking for a groom, Grant is trying to avoid being one, Marchmont tries to protect England and Louisa finds a way to break the engagement (since she is now in love with someone else). Penelope and the Duchess keep stirring things up just when things seem to calm down. Add in a nasty moneylender who is after the secrets and a young lad who is often around to help and you have a complicated tale that often is so confusing one wonders who is after who. The other irritating thing is that everyone screams about the propriety of the situations and yet, they often find themselves alone with an unmarried partner to no detriment.

At times, I enjoyed the easy banter between Grant and Genie, but at times, I was exasperated over their independent hard-headedness. The whole plotline around Marchmont and Louisa seemed to be a build-up for another book featuring Marchmont and most likely, Penelope – their story seemed to end with a lot of unanswered questions hanging. And the elders – both Genie’s aunt and Marchmont’s grandmother – were eccentric old ladies who often tried to bend things their way, but with little regard to the societal strictures they claimed rules their lives.

If you are looking for a love is in the air romance, A Wedding in Springtime disappoints.

--Shirley Lyons

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