This is a two-in-one edition of some of my earlier books, originally Signet Regencies. The Temporary Wife, first published in 1997, is probably named by more readers than any other book as their favorite among those old Regencies. A Promise of Spring was written in 1990 after the Web trilogy. There was a married couple in those books, very minor characters, who fascinated me. The wife was ten years older than the husband, and almost everyone who knew them assumed that she was the dominating force in a not-too-happy marriage. I wondered if they were right—or wrong. I could not resist telling their story so that I could satisfy my own curiosity!
In The Temporary Wife, Anthony Earheart, Marquess of Staunton, has just been summoned home by his very autocratic father, the Duke of Withingsby, to marry the bride chosen for him many years ago. But Anthony has been bitterly estranged from his father and his whole family for eight years and decides to respond on his own terms. Rather than ignore his father's summons or simply refuse to marry the girl chosen for him, he decides to take home a bride who will horrify his father's exacting standards. And so he sets out to find a plain, impoverished brown mouse of a woman, and the best way to do it is to advertise for a governess. His plan is to marry her, flaunt her before his father, and then pension her off for the rest of both their lives.
Charity Duncan is desperate. She has lost yet another job through her outspokenness, leaving all the burden of supporting their younger brothers and sisters and paying back their late father's debts on her brother's shoulders. Her brother wants her to go home to the children in the country and let him look after them all, but she is determined to find another job if she can. When she is summoned for an interview by Mr. Earheart, she puts on her best face, determined not to appear too bold. If she needs to appear to be a timid brown mouse in order to get employment, then a brown mouse she will be.
In A Promise of Spring, the young vicar of Abbotsford has just been killed while rescuing a child from a charging bull, and he has left behind him a destitute sister, who was his housekeeper. The people of the village and surrounding areas rally around to help her, but Sir Peregrine Lampman, her brother's friend, offers her marriage.
There are a few problems. For one thing, they do not love each other or, indeed, even know each other well. For another, Grace has deep, dark secrets from her past, which she does not try to hide from him though she has told no one else. And for a third, Perry is ten years younger than she—twenty-five to her thirty-five.
He persists and Grace is too grateful and too dazed by the death of her brother to say no. She assumes it is a marriage of convenience that he offers, but that is not his intention. They settle into a gentle marriage of apparent contentment until events even Grace could not have predicted bring ghosts of the past into the present and threaten the very fabric of their marriage.
Dell, ISBN 978-04402454528
A Promise of Spring
After the death of an unworldly minister, his spinster sister is left
destitute until she receives an offer of marriage from her sibling's closest
friend. How this marriage grows from one of convenience into one of deep
emotion is beautifully told by this outstanding storyteller.
Melinda Helfer, Romantic Times
Grace Howard is in limbo from past occurrences compounded further by the
death of her brother. Sir Perry Lampman hopes to relieve some of the burdens
from Grace's past and present situations. `Everything that occurs to a
person in life seems to occur for a reason' is an adage that could certainly
apply to Grace and Perry. A most unusual plot line for a Regency but it is
handled with superb skill. The mixture of characters is so enchanting:
lovable, stubborn, villainous and more--but is balanced with a deft hand. I
applauded when the dastardly villain received his comeuppance. I strongly
recommend this delightful promise of a new awakening.