Unwed and Unrepentant – just ponder a little at the brilliance of this title.
Alliteration is common among historical romance titles, see: ‘Tryst with Trouble’, ‘Dancing with the Duke’, ‘To Defy a Duke’, ‘How to Master Your Marquis’ etc. etc. These playful titles go to show that the authors don’t take themselves and their novels too seriously, so don’t you even start with ‘anachronistic this’ and ‘anachronistic that’. Let’s accept that these books take place in an alternative universe called Victorian Lalaland, where Lady Cordelia Armstrong can go to Scotland and have an amazing one night stand there. This obviously caused me to have unrealistic expectations and when I had to make a few trips to Scotland myself recently I was very disappointed to only get a dinner and a handshake. I guess those were different times.
Have you ever had a one night stand that was so good and magical it freaked you out? No, me neither. How is that fair that those romance novels heroines get not only a happily ever after but they also get way better one night stands than us, the regular 21st century girls?
This is the last one in the Armstrong sister series. One last sister to be married off by their mean, calculating father. All his previous plans failed or backfired; his daughters running off with foreigners or worse, so I guess he is a bit tired (also knows his last daughter is damaged goods so his prospects here are limited) and decides to shift this last one on the first man who comes along, and it just happens that the first man to come along is his business associate Iain Hunter.
So now I want you to picture this: it’s the first time you see your father in ages and he announces he’s found you a husband, here, meet Iain. And to your horror you realise it’s the very same guy you had a one night stand a year ago. But Cordelia and Iain decide to play along and take all the benefits they can from this situation, so enter: Pretend Engagement! How I love pretend engagements! (note to the UK Visas and Immigration Office: NOT in real life, I would never do that, I promise.) Of course, you know what happens with pretend engagements in romance novels and so it happens here as well, but not before the hero and heroine go across the world. Iain and Cordelia’s relationship is all fire. Sometimes I thought maybe too much fire, just because I’m cynical like that. Additionally with that much fire their reluctance was baffling. Nonetheless the writing is superb as Kaye’s writing usually is.
And the irony - for once the evil father got his way! He successfully married off one of his daughters. He’s got 20% success rate. And in the end it still seems the joke is on him.