Unfortunately, When There is Hope is the only book by Jane Goodger I was able to enjoy because most of her backlist is out of print... and as I mentioned in some previous posts, I really have difficulty finding older books. Then, the good news came a few months ago when I was looking at upcoming books... Jane Goodger was having a new book coming out: Marry Christmas!
Getting my hands on Marry Christmas was a whole story by itself :) All I can say is thank you to Jane Goodger for sending it to me!! It was incredibly generous :)
Marry Christmas by Jane Goodger
published by Zebra Kensington in October 2008
A Christmas wedding to the Duke of Bellingham. Any other socialite in Newport, Rhode Island, would be overjoyed at the prospect, but Elizabeth Cummings finds her mother’s announcement as appealing as a prison sentence. Elizabeth has not the slightest desire to meet Randall Blackmore, let alone be bartered for an English title. Her heart belongs to another, and the duke’s prestige, arrogance, and rugged charm will make no difference to her plans of elopement.
Against his expectations and desires, Randall Blackmore has inherited a dukedom and a vast estate that only marriage to an heiress can save. Selling his title to the highest bidder is a wretched obligation, but to Randall’s surprise his intended bride is pretty, courageous, delightfully impertinent—and completely uninterested in becoming a Duchess. Yet suddenly, no other woman will do, and a marriage in name only will never be enough for a husband determined to win his wife in body, heart, and soul…
Genre: historical romance
Series: Book #1
The Story: Elizabeth Cummings is 19 years old and is the richest heiress in Newport, Rhode Island. The young lady is crushed when her mother announces that she is to marry the Duke of Bellingham... because she's in love with another man.
Randall Blackmore never expected to be Duke of Bellingham. Unfortunately for him, he has inherited the title along with a huge debt... As a result, he has not choice than to marry an heiress, although he is reluctant to marry an American. However, he'll have to get over it since Elizabeth's father has offered him 1,000,000 pounds as a dowry.
Then, surprisingly to both, Rand falls in love with Elizabeth... but when faced with Elizabeth's betrayal, Rand cannot close his eyes on it and becomes a changed man... When Elizabeth realizes how foolish she's been, believing a fortune-hunter instead of her kind husband, it is up to her to win his heart once again.
My Opinion: I really enjoyed this book. So the story is not new... young, foolish girl is in love with a man, but has to marry another one. Although usually, the hero is the man she is in love with, not the other one :P Then, I happen to love marriage of convenience books, so this was really perfect for me.
I loved Randall. He was such a great hero. I think what sets him apart from most is his integrity and his honesty. Yes, he was desperate for money, but it bothered him that she was in love with someone else and gave her a chance to bail out of the wedding... However, what I loved most is how honest with his feelings he was. Admitting to himself that he was in love with Elizabeth and then, telling her. Then, when he felt betrayed, the 180 degrees he did... He was very humane and that's quite a nice change from all the aristocrats out there. He wasn't overly charming, he wasn't a rake, he wasn't tortured or stuffy. He was just a simple, normal man that happened to become a duke... and he didn't let the power go up to his head. I guess that when it's not accompanied by big pouches of money, it's easier :P
Unfortunately, I can't say I loved Elizabeth. She was strong-minded and I guess she was really in love or believed herself in love... and in any other situation, it would have been admirable that she stood her ground and so on... however, on this one, I agreed with Randall... it's not possible to be in love with someone after only spending 2 hours with him. Perhaps because as a reader, I could see the whole situation... but seriously, her pseudo-relationship with Henry didn't warrant that degree of loyalty. That's why I found it her annoying at times. Also, how could she forget about the necklace? Seriously!! I totally understand why Randall hit the roof... At least, Elizabeth knew that she was in the wrong. So that's in the plus column for her.
Overall, I thought Ms Goodger did a real good job with this story. The basic idea wasn't original; however, Ms Goodger was able to make it original. For example, I like how it was the hero that went to America to meet his bride instead of the American heiress hunting for a husband in London. I enjoyed seeing the American scene and how the American socialites could be snobbier than than the ton in London. I also liked the set up for the next book in the series, especially since I enjoyed Maggie's character more than Elizabeth.
My Grade: B. I would have given a higher grade if I've liked Elizabeth's character more... however, it did not stop me from enjoying Marry Christmas :) I'm definitively looking forward to the next book in the series. Fans of historical romance that are looking for something different, Marry Christmas is what you're looking for :P