The late Jo Beverley, a New York Times bestselling author, has left us a parting gift—her final Regency historical, Merely a Marriage. The year is 1817, and Lady Ariana Boxstall has grown increasingly anxious since the Regent’s only child, Princess Charlotte, died in childbirth. If death can claim a woman so young, Ariana fears for her brother Norris, the Earl of Langston, given all the risks he takes in his Corinthian lifestyle. She feels it’s imperative Norris take a wife and quickly present an heir to secure the succession. Should it pass to their drunken, gambling-mad uncle, their mother’s life will be left in shambles. Norris, however, has no desire to marry at this time and shows no sign of changing his mind—until he determines that if she is married by the end of the year, he will follow suit by the end of January.
Putting herself in the ton’s sights is the last thing Ariana wants to do. She is inordinately tall, and her debut when she was 16 was a disaster. Yet, reluctantly, she agrees. Her mother accompanies her to London where their hostess Lady Cawle will usher Ariana through the unofficial marriage mart. The first thing Lady Cawle hands Ariana is a written list of possible husbands she has arranged for Ariana to meet, including the Earl of Kynaston, who broke Ariana’s heart eight years ago.
When Titus Frederick Delacorte, the Earl of Kynaston, met Ariana years ago, he was the toast of the town. Then life introduced him to heartbreak and taught him in the worst way possible that no one’s life is forever golden. He has sworn off love, but being thrown together with Ariana makes staying steadfast to his avowed oath increasingly difficult.
With trademark authority and vivid characterization, Jo Beverley paints a stunning picture of aristocratic Regency London life as Ariana and Kynaston’s inability to stay away from each other courts scandal during a countrywide mourning period.