“Fight me or Marry me!” Frances Kendrick was not a woman willing to sit idly by and wait for her Prince Charming. An heiress, the best rider, hunter and swordsman in the Royal County of Berkshire in the last year’s of good Queen Anne’s reign, she found the men presented to her either boring, stupid, or most often both. Until she met this scapegrace of a lawyer, Benjamin Child. This sweet romance with a paranormal twist follows their developing passion and the means they used to bring their romance to fruition despite the objections of her trustees.
Set in Reading and thereabouts in 1714, the story commences with the memorial service for Frances’ older brother. Since she is the heiress to a baronet, Miss Kendrick did not want for suitors. She wanted for acceptable suitors, as the men she met were simply not up to her standards. When she finally meets one who is, a circuit-riding barrister named Benjamin Child, her trustee’s refuse their approval. He’s too much of a fortune hunter, gambler and wastrel for their tastes. Despite their difference in rank and fortune, he’s the man for her and she’s the woman for him.
Complications abound in the story, ranging from a gypsies’ curse, to highwaymen, to nobbling jockey’s before a critical horse race, and even to the activities of the Hellfire Club.
Book Review: The heroine is a handful. Way too intelligent and strong willed for the conventions of her time. The way she fights, deceives and manipulates to get what she wants out of life makes for a bit of a romp, but the fact that this tale is based on a true story is quite sobering. It’s also very romantic and interesting because of that. For word of this lady to be around 300 years later, she must have made quite an impression at the time… I felt well enough immersed in the early 18th century setting, with minimal detail allowing the plot to move along quickly, making for a fast and exciting read. There’s a cute supernatural twist that offers another dimension to the tale. This quite cleverly heightened the intensity of the climax and ending with a parallel timeline. It also brought our protagonists to the intersection of storytelling and true-to-life… Well done!