The Scoundrel's Bartered Bride
by Virginia Heath
5 out of 5
To the highest bidder
Lady Lydia Barton cannot seem to avoid Owen Wolfe since he’s returned after being wrongly transported for stealing her family’s jewels! But Lydia has more pressing problems, like her impending arranged marriage. Until Owen makes her father a counteroffer for her hand. Is Owen purely after her society connections, or dare Lydia hope that the charming stable boy she once loved is still within her ruthless, wealthy new husband?
Lady Lydia has no say in her future. She thinks it's bad being engaged to a hideous old lord; but it's even worse when she's bought by a man she hates, who only wants her title.
I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review.
I've got to say that I thoroughly enjoy reading Heath's work, and always jump at the chance to read a new book.
I always think she does a great job of balancing the romantic and historical aspects, as well as delivering solid plots each time.
Lady Lydia Barton has the title, the charm and the beauty; but after being betrayed by the boy she loved at sixteen, she has rejected any further suitors.
Now she's a spinster, and her cold-hearted father's poor finances means that he's ready to sell his daughter to the highest bidder. It seems that fate is playing a very cruel joke - the stableboy she loved (until he stole her dying mother's jewels) has returned from the penal colony of Australia, and has become one of the richest men in London.
Owen Wolfe knows that he is innocent, but nobody cares about the opinion of a lowly stableboy, when he is accused by a noble family.
When that same noble family is in dire straits, Owen has the chance to exact his revenge, or find his redemption, he hasn't quite decided yet.
I enjoyed this story, as it follows the two engaging in a marriage of convenience, whilst dancing around old feelings.
Owen tries to uncover the truth, unable to move forwards until he has proven his innocence to the world. But the truth comes at an awful price that he may never share it.
I liked that Heath doesn't shy away from the worst parts of sending criminals to Australia. For the nobles England, they are sweeping away convicts, without giving them a second thought.
Owen survives the inhumane journey and you get to find out more about life in the penal colony.
I very much enjoyed this book and look forward to reading more of Heath's work.