Series: Ministry of Marriage #2
Genres: Historical Romance
Published by Penguin on 25 January 2012
Reading Challenges: 2013 Bachelorette Challenge
The Ministry of Marriage (MoM) is back and this time they are determined to marry Lady Rosamund Westruther (aka Beauty) to Griffin, Earl of Tregarth (aka the Beast). Rosamund has no problems with doing her duty and indeed waits three years for Griff to get his act together. He only decides to marry her in order to protect his sister and is genuinely surprised when she fails to follow his caveman-like edicts and toddle down to Cornwall to marry him. Griff has to court her properly before she will let him put a ring on her finger.
Griff is a big man and is used to being ridiculed for his size. He is far more comfortable mucking around in the stables than making polite conversation. I figured that the MoM were having their own private joke by shackling Rosamund to him but I couldn’t see what Rosamund had done to deserve it. Of course there is far more to him than his looks but I didn’t expect the MoM to be that insightful. He was frequently beaten by his grandfather and when he got too big, his grandfather had men beat his brother while he was forced to watch. Perhaps I missed it but I don’t think we were ever told why his grandfather was such a sadist or what happened to the brother. Naturally this sort of behaviour leaves mental and physical scars – Griff doesn’t think he deserves Rosamund, particularly given the fact he is suspected of murdering his sister’s music teacher. Bit by bit Rosamund civilises this ‘beast’ and we see what a loyal and honourable man he is. Clothes clearly maketh the man.
Rosamund escaped the clutches of her wanton mother and was raised by the Duke of Montford. In return it seems for avoiding a life full of depravity and debauchery, she has to do her duty and marry a man of his choosing. Given her mother’s actions, it is surprising that Rosamund has been able to remain so innocent and in some cases naïve. She sets the rules for Griff’s courtship and rather than marrying him immediately and this gives her time to bolster his self-worth and convince him he is worthy of being loved.
Some aspects of the plot seemed to come out of nowhere. The worse one by far was a scene involving a painting of Rosamund which did not value-add and frankly seemed bizarre. We also have lots of travelling between London and Cornwall for very thin reasons, a murder and smuggling. It felt like all of these events were contrived to bulk up the story.
There were some really touching scenes between Rosamund and Griff which I relished but the side-plots killed much of my enjoyment.