WITH THIS RING - Celeste Bradley
The Wicked Worthingtons , Book 3
A Perfect 10
St. Martin's Paperbacks
Lady Elektra Worthington feels a deep sense of obligation to pull her family out of the impoverished mire they find themselves in, most recently due to a fire on the family estate. Truly, she is the only one of the family who is practical and realistic enough to ascertain that if she does not find herself a rich and titled heir, and quickly, the entire Worthington clan will be irreparably...penniless, with no dowry for the youngest sister, Attie. So all Elektra needs is one tiny little season. She has been doing her homework and reading the society pages avidly to determine who will suit her needs. And she has even made herself a list. The whole plan goes awry when her parents inform Elektra that she must travel to the countryside to pick up her cousin, thereby missing the first party she has been planning to attend in order to put her plan in action. Unable to disappoint, Elektra agrees and, three days later, finds herself at a small inn with her brother Zander, waiting for her cousin to arrive.
As it happens, Elektra is gazing out the window of the inn when she sees a carriage arrive and learns from her brother that Lord Aaron Arbogast has arrived at the inn, and that he is violently ill with a terrible fever. Elektra remembers the gossip sheets mentioning that Lord Arbogast had recently returned from abroad with the intention of finding himself a future countess. Naturally, Elektra had added Lord Arbogast to her list, and now perhaps her luck has changed. She devises a plan she is certain will not fail, but yet again, her plans go awry when she finds herself with Lord Arbogast's valet instead of Lord Aaron himself. Whoever he is, lord or valet, Elektra finds herself wildly attracted to the man, but realizes that if she follows her heart, she will not have accomplished her goal of saving her family, and family must always come first. Meanwhile, Lord Aaron has problems of his own - namely that he must find a suitable bride, and immediately, or he may be in deep trouble with his grandfather.
Needless to say, pandemonium ensues, even when all is sorted out.
WITH THIS RING is a wonderful romance, truly the type of historical romance that I love to read because it is sharp, witty, emotional, passionate and so much fun. It's the type of romance one just has to stay up all night reading. Celeste Bradley is as good as ever, and it's such a relief to note that her writing can still transport the reader with such skill and finesse. WITH THIS RING is refreshingly original, and the characters are so well developed that the emotional investment for the reader occurs almost immediately. Elektra and her entire family are charming but not superficial. I sincerely hope Ms. Bradley is planning on continuing on the with the Worthington series as her characters are slowly developing in each novel, even if they are not the main attraction and are fast becoming too fascinating to ignore. As for Aaron, he is an interesting hero with an even more interesting past. In short, WITH THIS RING has been one of my favorite historical romances of 2014 - I can't wait to see what Ms. Bradley will give us in the next Worthington series.