Mary Royle is convinced that she is going to marry Quinn Wetherly and drags her sisters, Elizabeth and Anne, around on scandalous adventures in order to see him. Elizabeth, Anne, and Mary are triplets and while Elizabeth and Anne believe that their deceased father's cryptic notes imply that they are really the daughters of the Prince of Wales and his first wife, Mrs. Fitzherbert, Mary is not so certain. When Rogan Wetherly, the Duke of Blackstone, discovers that Mary is after his brother Quinn, he believes she is nothing but a gold digger and he wants her away from his marriage minded brother. Rogan's father had fallen for a common woman, Quinn's mother, who made his life miserable and used him for his money, and Mary's penny-pinching way when it comes to clothes and household staff. He plans for his brother to be occupied with a very proper and acceptable widow while he will escort Mary around, and away from his brother.
Mary is furious that Rogan is coming in between her and her one true love and especially when he takes every opportunity to needle and frustrate her. She thinks the best way to get back at the Duke will be to play his game and give back as good as she is getting. However, the more time she spends with the Duke the more she realizes that her feelings for Quinn were based purely on his innocent good looks, while the Duke's take-charge attitude and commanding presence offer so much more. One night Mary gets drunk and things go farther than either had anticipating and Rogan, who had been angry at his growing feelings for Mary, is forced to confront the fact thatMary is more innocent than he had previously believed. Shenanigans ensue with false vicars and night rushing up to Gretna Greene and old former rakes who continue to meddle until Mary and Rogan finally get it right and marry for real and for love.
It took me a few pages to realize that I had read this before and I really only remembered a very few things about this book, which should go to show how exciting and great this book is. The only exciting thing about Mary was how frugal she was and how that led to some very interesting hiring choices in her household. Her feelings for Quinn were obviously incredibly immature and it was just a little too much to believe that she really thought she was in love with a man she had only seen in passing in the park. Quinn proved to be just as wimpy as he so easily gave in to his brother's manipulations to get him away from Mary and into the arm of the widow. At the same time the relationship between Rogan and Mary got off to a very unpleasant start with lots of arguing and purposeful irritation that made a romance between them seem unlikely. Luckily it did get a little better near the end, but only the very end.
Rogan's fear of marriage was actually underdone and since so little time is spent on it, the end, when he's too scared to admit he loves her, just seems more than a little unbelievable. And his blindness when it comes to Mary and her true intentions also got to be a little much and I really almost wanted to slap him, and in general not enough of the story was told from his point of view so I did not really "get" him. The plot involving the three sisters being the Prince's daughters was more than a little ridiculous and the best thing I can say about it is that it really did not take up a large part of the story and I could really just ignore it. The aging rakes who I suppose were supposed to be cute and quirky were really just annoying and I never really like it when everyone around the happy couple seems to know more about what's going on than the actual couple- it seems condescending to me.
Rating: A very fast book so not a complete loss, but the characters were just a little too annoying and I did not really enjoy it that much. Not completely bad though.