Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Two Wrongs Make A Marriage by Christine Merill

At the opening of the book, Miss Cynthia Banester and Lord Kenton go for a moonlit stroll in the garden. They each go for their own very different reasons. Cynthia is looking to help her family out financially by marrying a wealthy man. Jack Briggs, masquerading as Lord Kenton, is an actor hired by the Earl of Spayne to pretend to be his long lost son, marry money, and produce an heir. Not knowing Jack’s plans, she pulls a pistol on him to get him to stay with her until someone comes to discover them and make them marry. This is no problem to Jack because in his mind, it fits in with his plans and he is extremely attracted to Cynthia. They have a brief courtship and then marry. It’s not until directly after the wedding, when Jack speaks to Cynthia’s father, that they finally learn the truth about each other. Cynthia’s family is just about broke & Jack is actually an actor playing a part and not actually Lord Kenton. They both feel cheated and angry with each other. Jack decides to go visit his “father” the Earl of Spayne with his new bride and ask his advice. At this point the marriage is still not consummated. The Earl seems understandably disappointed but very gracious to Cynthia. He says that no matter what, he will look upon her as a daughter. The Earl’s plan was originally for Jack to go off and have a fake tragic accident after making good. I enjoyed the relationship between the Earl and Jack. They end up having a kind of Father/son relationship. Jack helps the Earl with investment & estate matters. The Earl never planned on having any more children after his first one because he was a homosexual and couldn’t work up enough enthusiasm to try again. After talking it over, they all come to the conclusion that the source of everyone’s troubles seems to be Henry de Warde. He is the Earl’s slimy younger brother, and the one who scammed Cynthia’s father out of a huge chunk of change. They all decide to continue as if everything’s fine and Jack really is Lord Kenton. They decide to go back to London and see if they can rattle de Warde and see if they shake something loose from him that they can use against him. It’s during this time that they fall for each other a little bit. Jack seemed like a very charming, amiable guy through this – although I thought he was a little cruel toward the end the way he used Cynthia in the plan to ruin de Warde. Cynthia’s mother was an interesting woman to read about, having been an actress when she met Cynthia’s father. The ending is a surprise ending but I enjoyed it and was grateful for the info packed epilogue to wrap things up.

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