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The Worthington Wife

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Sharon Page sparkles in this poignant and irresistibly entertaining follow-up to her breakout novel, An American Duchess 

Lady Julia Hazelton is the most dazzling among 1920s England's bright young things. But rather than choosing the thrill of wanton adventure like so many of her contemporaries, Julia shocks society with her bold business aspirations. Determined to usher the cursed Worthington estate into a prosperous, modern new era, and thus preserve her beloved late fiancé's legacy, the willful Julia tackles her wildest, most unexpected adventure in Cal Carstairs, the reluctant new Earl of Worthington. 

The unconventional American artist threatens everything Julia seeks to protect while stirring desires she thought had died in the war. For reasons of his own, Cal has designed the ultimate revenge. Rather than see the estate prosper, he intends to destroy it. But their impulsive marriage—one that secures Julia's plans as well as Cal's secrets—proves that passion is ambition's greatest rival. Unless Cal ends his quest to satisfy his darkest vendetta, he stands to ruin his Worthington wife and all her glittering dreams.

From Publishers Weekly

Nov 28, 2016 – Page offers those jonesing for Downton Abbey a supplemental dose of unconventional British jazz age characters in this vibrant sequel to An American Duchess. Lady Julia Hazelton has poured herself into her charitable work with war widows since the death of her fianc , the future earl of Worthington. When the new earl, Cal, arrives and promises to destroy the estate to avenge his lower-class mother, who was spurned by his father's family, Julia feels compelled to change his mind. As the two grow closer, Julia attempts to expand proper roles for ladies, and Cal realizes the selfishness of his vengeance. Frustratingly underdeveloped minor characters, including tenants, servants, Julia's other love interest, and mysterious gangsters from Cal's American past, enter and leave the story with dizzying speed. With this cast and the additional plot involving the deaths of three possibly murdered local women who strongly resembled Julia, the work veers dangerously close to overstuffed and uncontrolled. Page manages to hold it together through her captivating portrayals of Julia and Cal, beautifully capturing the tension between desire and responsibilities and allowing the two protagonists room to evolve. This work will delight fans of melodramatic period pieces.

Customer Reviews

never feeling very committed to any of the promise offered in the synopsis.

2.5 stars rounded
Going in, from the description I expected a solid sense of the post WWI feel: a grab the gusto from life sort of attitude combined with social change that is manifesting itself in the attitude and self-reliance of the women in the story, and the struggle of the men to find some sort of normal that they remembered from before the war.

And Page does manage to provide a heroine in Julia, born to a title and those expectations, she’s decided that marriage and the other expectations of her class are not at all interesting, she’d prefer to find solace after the death of her fiancé at the Somme, by helping the widows from the war. So, her motives are intriguing – but the path there was more than a bit convoluted and confused. And for her part, Julia was the only character developed in ways that extended past the superficial.

When we add in Cal, the newly found American heir to the Worthington Estate, with his anger and plots to make up for his own father’s treatment as a child, this man has little on his mind but securing his new inheritance to bring the whole mess crashing down and, by extension, ruin the family name. With a convenient marriage between he and Julia, a pile of secrets and a mystery added that seemed only to serve itself and not forward plot motion, the book starts to feel like a lengthy if not particularly challenging read.

Secondary characters were outlines at best, descriptions of place were wonderful while a sense of the 20’s was almost non-existent. Language and attitudes are modern, perhaps more than the stated timeframe, and the feel of a society on the edge of great social changes was told, repeatedly, much more than shown. Overall, the storytelling missed opportunities to develop the characters, the mystery was basic and served only to add another layer that, while resolved, did little to service the story progression. Most glaring for me was the lack of any actual sense of the 20’s. This was a story, that with a few small changes could have been set in any era – and as a lover of historical romance, it is the era – one not represented frequently in the genre, that was done a disservice here. Light, easy to read and non-challenging, this is a story that wandered and meandered never feeling very committed to any of the promise offered in the synopsis.

I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via Edelweis for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review. All conclusions are my own responsibility.

The Worthington Wife
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  • $7.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Historical
  • Published: Jan 01, 2017
  • Publisher: HQN Books
  • Seller: Harlequin Sales Corporation
  • Print Length: 384 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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