By Lynsay Sands
Madison Sisters Book 1
The fairy tale courtship did not turn into a happily-ever-after . . .
Not until her husband dropped dead, that is. He had been horrible enough to Christiana during their short marriage, and she was not going to allow the traditional period of mourning to ruin her sisters’ debuts as well. So she decides to put him on ice and go on as if nothing’s happened . . .
Until the real earl appears. Richard Fairgrave had every intention of confronting his villainous twin who had robbed him of his name and title . . . only to discover that he had died. Quietly assuming his identity, Richard must now deal with a maddening desire for his ravishing inherited “wife”— certainly a gold digger and possibly a murderess. And Christiana must deal with an unwanted new “husband” . . . and they both must figure out what to do before the ice melts!
This Blonde’s Review:
Imagine marrying a man you think is a romantic, kind, and an Earl. Then finding out he’s actually cruel and unyielding. Then have him conveniently drop dead. Then when she goes to a ball with her sisters Suzette and Lisa to have him show up at a ball. Then have him undergo a complete change in personality Again. That is exactly what happened to Christiana. Except Christiana wasn’t really married to Richard Fairgrave. She was married to his younger twin brother George.
Richard’s younger brother George always resented his older brother. George attempted to have Richard killed and then passed the body he thought was Richard’s off as himself. He was not content to simply inherit the earldom, he wanted to replace Richard, though he called himself Dicky a nickname Richard had hated. Little did he know, Richard was not dead. He managed to escape and found himself stranded in America. When Richard gets back to London he goes immediately to a ball to discover that his brother had taken his place and married the beautiful Christiana. Richard decides to step back into his rightful place after comments that Christiana and her sisters made led him to realize that George had died hours before. Since the women did not share that information with anyone and instead rolled Dicky in a carpet to move the body upstairs and put on ice it was an easy enough idea. Except then Richard and his friend, Daniel, had to figure out what to do with the body in order to keep Christiana from realizing what happened.
The idea of bodies in carpets was hilarious and absolutely impossible to me, but the idea that not only did Christiana use that method to move Dicky, but Richard did too was great. It made the idea that both pairs were successful funny, like the author was sharing a joke with the reader about how likely it was that anyone could pull that off. Of course both pairs did run into the butler with Dicky in the carpet…
With Dicky safely back in his bed Richard finds himself succumbing to his desire for Christiana, and Christiana had enough to drink that night to accept what Richard made her feel without thinking too hard on Dicky, even though she thought they were the same man. Christiana soon finds out the truth when she finds herself with a dead Dicky on one side and a living Richard on the other.
As Richard and Christiana get to know each other better they realize they are perfect for each other. Together they try to solve the mystery of who killed George, who is responsible for the many “accidents” that occur around Richard and Daniel, and somehow get married again to make certain their marriage is legal without giving it all away. To top it off Suzette has decided she will marry Daniel and he seems to be going along with the idea, which tells you which sister will be in book two of the Madison Sisters series.
I really enjoyed this book. I loved the characters. Christiana went through hell and while not quite herself at first, she was still stronger than many women would have been. Grace and Suzette each have such distinct personalities that you know their stories will also be distinct even though they will overlap some. Richard is kind and reading about him you just know he’s a handsome man. Yet somehow we know that Dicky is not as handsome as his brother even though they are twins. Their personalities were so different it is clear that looking in their eyes and seeing how they treat people would impact their attractiveness.
When Christiana finds herself in danger it was great seeing the way everyone rallied around to help her. The sisters did not wait patiently for the men to save they day, since they are just as strong as Christiana. Even the butler gets involved in the rescue, but with his appearances throughout the book that isn’t much of a surprise.
I do have to say that there is one matter that wasn’t resolved that I believed Richard let go a little too easily. That is really the only thing I can say that I didn’t like about this book.
If you enjoy a romance novel you can laugh to that also includes some whodunit, then you’ll love this story from Lynsay Sands, the first in her great new Madison Sisters series.