A Convenient Pretense by Elaine Violette

PRETENSE
A Convenient Pretense by Elaine Violette
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (179 pgs)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Poinsettia

Emily Hughes has little patience for the frivolity of the season. Marriage brought out only the worst in her parents and if she has her way, she’ll avoid matrimony altogether. Only the demands of her father are enough to force her to join her aunt in London for the festivities.

Marcus Deming, Earl of Pembridge, refuses to love after watching his father succumb to a broken heart. Marcus will marry, but only for the convenience of producing an heir. Love need have no place in the arrangement.

Emily and Marcus agree to spend the season in each other’s company, fending off the worst of the suitors and their aunts’ schemes. It isn’t until Emily is called home to aid her ailing father that she and Marcus realize their pretense has escalated into something far more intense. So alike, right down to a shared stubborn streak, it’s going to take a common enemy and the ability to admit when they’re wrong for Marcus and Emily to secure the future they suddenly can’t imagine living without.

Are Emily and Marcus only fooling themselves?

Emily and Marcus both want to avoid marriage at all costs. However, Emily’s father practically orders her to attend the Season in London, and Marcus has an aunt who solemnly believes that it is her duty to find him a suitable wife. Emily immediately perceives that Marcus is just as uncomfortable as she is. When she boldly suggests the pretense, she is delighted when he agrees. From the moment Emily and Marcus begin spending time together, it is very clear that they have excellent chemistry. I realized long before they did that their pretense worked too well.

Emily has a beautiful spirit and a real talent for poetry. Her passion for her art is admirable, and I really enjoyed reading her poems that were sprinkled throughout the book. I did find it interesting that the majority of her poems were about romantic love, especially since she had no intention of entering into a relationship, or at least a relationship that would lead to marriage.

Marcus and Emily’s scarred pasts are the chief obstacles to their happy ending. Both have very distorted images of what marriage will be like. It is shocking how cynical they are at such an early age. Though they were both adamantly against marriage, they had very different experiences that led them to reach the same conclusion. Marcus believes loving a woman could literally be the death of him. Emily’s mother filled her head with bitter ravings that were extremely skewed. Emily and Marcus are both deeply wounded, but what makes the situation even sadder is that they don’t know the entire truth behind the circumstances that have made marriage so unappealing. Will they have the courage to face the truth and finally open their hearts, or will their stubbornness cost them everything?

In addition to figuring out her relationship with Marcus, Emily also finds herself faced with a desperate situation once she returns home. I thought it was very easy to figure out what had been going on at the Hughes estate during Emily’s absence, but I enjoyed watching Emily and Marcus try to piece everything together. Ms. Violette did an excellent job of building the suspense, and I found myself racing through the last part of the book. Even though I thought I knew how certain events would turn out, Ms. Violette threw in a couple surprises that led to a very satisfying conclusion.

Reading A Convenient Pretense was truly a joy. The pacing was excellent, and watching Emily and Marcus slowly change their views on love and marriage was a pleasure. Fans of historical romance and poetry would do well to pick up a copy today.

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