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Richard's young nephew is going to propose to a young chit. Richard decides to attend a masquerade and meet the young lady and ruin her. Nicole Paget has told Nigel she will be dressed as Queen Bess at the Masquerade but at the last minute, due to a torn hem on her gown, switches costumes with her elder sister Anne. Lord Richard asks Queen Bess to dance thinking she is Nicole and proceeds to lead her into the gardens where they become intimate. Upon being discovered with her gown around her waist in the arms of Richard by her mother, who calls her Anne not Nicole. Richard is shocked to discover the young lady in his arms is not Nicole, but not to disappointed. He is attracted to Anne and has no reservations about his duties toward her. Anne has other ideas. Since a very young age she has been responsible for her siblings and even now her parents. She has no intention of marrying and only wants to keep her family out of debtors prison and see her sisters make a good match. She longs to go to the continent and continue her passion of painting. The hero Richard is willing to do whatever it takes to marry Anne. Throughout the many rejections from her he is determined and soon it pays off with her acceptance. I admired Anne and her honesty with Richard from confessing her shame of her parents spending habits to her doubts about wanting a child, ever. My goodness she had the responsibility of not only ensuring her sister's making good matches but her brothers having funds to attend eton and on top of that curbing her parents spending. Why would she want to have a baby? Good read glad I bought it.
Anne is mistaken for her beautiful sister Nicole, whom the Earl thinks is a gold digger and has set sights on his nephew's fortune.
He soon realized his mistake and fell in love with Anne himself.
There is not much to the storyline, there was no justifiable reason for me, for the Earl to automatically assume Nicole Anne's sister was out for his nephew's fortune, having never met her, plus his plan to compromise her to ruin her reputation and make her unfit for his nephew was really far fetched.
All in all although it was not a page turner and it wasn't a really bad novel, it just fell very short of being a good book.