Caroline was a born genius which during the time frame of this story was one of the worst things that could happen to a woman. She wanted to study at university, but of course that wasn't accepted for a woman. She was a botanist and a natural mathematician. All her life though she was the odd one with no friends or suitors. Here 4 sisters were blonde, blue eyed and beautiful while she was brown haired and brown eyed and thought to be plain.
When Lord (Brent) Ravenscroft comes to her father to buy back his precious horses that his cousin had sold out from under him while away at war, her father will only give them back if he marries Caroline.
So a marriage of convenience takes place, he does not want a wife. He does not trust any woman as he has just had awful experiences with them. When he gets Caroline to his stripped down home (again thanks to his cousin) he expects her to cry or throw a fit, but she casually accepts. He also excepts his illegitimate daughter, who is said to be wild and have something not right about her, but Caroline discovers she is deaf and goes about helping her to understand. Brent definitely desires his new wife and is seeing her as no one ever has. He respects her and intelligence and that alone brings her to start caring for him.
Caroline agreed to this marriage but in her minds plans she intends to not consume the marriage, get an annulment, then move to America to go to college. The thing is, she starts to fall for Brent and his little daughter.
What I just loved about this story, is how they slowly fell for each other. I loved Brent's attempts at seduction, even though he was very forthright. They each had secrets they kept from each other and you saw the whole big misunderstanding coming, but it wasn't cringe worthy like so many other stories. “Sometimes, my darling Caroline, when I can’t take the want any longer; I go and look at you. Did you know that? I stand by your bedside and watch you sleeping by moonlight, your angelic face draped in shadows, so lovely, so peaceful, and I wonder if you’re dreaming about me.”
“You deserve a husband who wants you, Caroline, just as you are, and you know I do. But as much as I need you, I don’t want you if you’re here right now from a feeling of guilt, or pity, or some odd sense of self-righteousness or duty.” He abruptly glanced down once again to his brandy. “Because I also believe, even with my numerous faults, that I deserve a wife who wants me in return, just as I am. Anything less isn’t worth the pain.”