A Duchess in Name (The Grantham Girls #1) by Amanda Weaver
Synopsis: Victoria Carson never expected love. An American heiress and graduate of Lady Grantham’s finishing school, she’s been groomed since birth to marry an English title—the grander the better. So when the man chosen for her, the forbidding Earl of Dunnley, seems to hate her on sight, she understands that it can’t matter. Love can have no place in this arrangement.
Andrew Hargrave has little use for his title and even less for his cold, disinterested parents. Determined to make his own way, he’s devoted to his life in Italy working as an archaeologist. Until the collapse of his family’s fortune drags him back to England to a marriage he never wanted and a woman he doesn’t care to know.
Wild attraction is an unwanted complication for them both, though it forms the most fragile of bonds. Their marriage of convenience isn’t so intolerable after all—but it may not be enough when the deception that bound them is finally revealed.
Review: I received this book from the NERFA contest put on by First Coast Romantic Writers. The book starts off slow and I had a bit of difficulty getting into it, but it quickly picks up in the tension between our two main characters and the plot develops well. Andrew believes his new wife had an active hand in trapping him into marriage in order to become a duchess. He goes through with the wedding to protect his sisters, but then immediately leaves for Italy after he drops Victoria off at the ruin of his family seat. Their wedding night was a bit difficult to watch and the fact that he leaves without saying goodbye just adds to the conflict and difficulties they need to work through in order to have a happy ending. Instead of falling apart, Victoria picks up the pieces and starts to put the ruin back together into a home. She decides that the house represents the independence she so desired. She does write her husband in hopes that they can somehow make a real go of their marriage but he stands fast in his hatred of her, and she doesn’t find out why till near the very end of the story. As secrets become revealed and the few encounters between the two in the beginning just adds to the emotional tension. It definitely draws you into the story and when they do have their happy ending it was just so sweet and romantic. I enjoyed the story and was definitely engrossed in their relationship as it developed, fell apart, and at the end come back together stronger than ever. Loved it.