Jane, Lady Roxdale, has endured one marriage of convenience decreed by the Ministry of Marriage. While she deeply regrets her late husband’s death, she is relieved to be free at last. But when a dissolute rake threatens everything Jane holds dear, she must contemplate marrying a second time…
Disgraced libertine Constantine Black inherits his cousin Roxdale’s land and title—while Roxdale’s prim widow is left all the wealth. Constantine is not a marrying man, but wedding Jane is the only way to save the estate from ruin. Jane resists the smoldering heat between them, desperate not to fall in love with an unrepentant rake. But for the first time ever, Constantine wants more than seduction. He wants all of her—body, heart, and soul…
And here is Hydecat's review:
Heiress in Love is the first book in Brooke’s Ministry of Marriage series. I was intrigued by the concept of the Ministry. A group of Machievellian aristocrats working behind closed doors to broker advantageous marriages for the most important members of the ton? Awesome! I love story plots that involve scheming and counter-scheming. However, I was disappointed by how little the reader sees of the Ministry’s inner workings in this novel. I would have enjoyed sitting in on at least one meeting to get a more clear idea of how the rules of the organization work. We might learn more in the next two novels, which were clearly forshadowed in this book.
Jane is a likeable heroine. She is smart and strong-minded, but not perfect. Her first marriage of convenience left her with emotional issues that need to be worked through before she can be happy with the hero. Constantine is less immediately likeable, but develops into an interesting character with his own emotional baggage that stands between him and happiness. Though I don’t always like the plot where a hero has been damaged by one woman and sworn to Never Trust A Woman Again, Constantine does have legitimate reasons for the chip on his shoulder. Both characters know the difference between lust and love, which made their ultimate affection for each other more real.
One thing I really enjoyed about this novel is its focus on the estate as an actual working concern, not just a setting for balls and parties. Both Jane and Constantine are motivated by their strong sense of duty towards their tenants and staff. The legal tangle of inheritance that pushes them together is realistic for the time and highlights the frustrating legal limits placed on women during the Regency period.
The novel’s tension is split between Jane and Constantine’s interpersonal conflicts and the actions of a villain who threatens the estate and Jane and Constantine’s emotional connection. The threat to the estate was an interesting twist, but the villain’s motivation was never fully explained and the conclusion to that part of the plot was not as satisfying as it could have been. There are also a few small inconsistencies in the plotline that bothered me as I thought back through the novel, but overall this novel is quite enjoyable, and I will probably look for the next books in the series.