Gloria Gay, an artist and writer, has written several Regency and Gothic romances and recently published a Regency novel entitled, First Season. She is presently writing an historical novel. She and her husband reside in San Diego, California, where they are lucky to have their grown children living nearby.
Forced Offerby Gloria Gay
At the age of 13, when trespassing on woods adjacent to her family's land, Belinda Presleigh sees Richard Berrington, who has just come home from the war, swimming naked in a stream. From that moment on she can see no one but him and locks this painful love in her heart, knowing that exposure would only bring ridicule. She knows that she cannot compete with the… See more details below
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At the age of 13, when trespassing on woods adjacent to her family's land, Belinda Presleigh sees Richard Berrington, who has just come home from the war, swimming naked in a stream. From that moment on she can see no one but him and locks this painful love in her heart, knowing that exposure would only bring ridicule. She knows that she cannot compete with the beautiful girls to whom he is attracted.
Her mother, though, having lost her eldest daughter, Roselle, to pneumonia, has hopes of regaining her lost social status through Belinda, and plots to place Richard, who has now become an earl at his father's death, in a compromising situation with Belinda, forcing him to an offer of marriage.
Belinda realizes her mother's plot too late, and yet, when forced to decide her future, it is not her mother's overbearing insistence that convinces her to accept an offer of marriage she knows has been forced on the earl, but the realization that this is the only chance at happiness she will ever have, for she cannot envision a life in which she will never see Richard Branston again.
Three idyllic days spent travelling with her new husband, who has softened somewhat toward her, leave Belinda totally unprepared for the violent and dangerous rejection she encounters from his family at his home, Winterhill.
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One has to feel sympathy for Belinda Presleigh. She has been living in her sisters Roselle's shadow for almost 13 years until her death. Than being forgotten by her parents in their grief. Belinda was 18 when the family took off to London for a round of balls. The object being to find a rich husband for shy, quiet, plain Belinda. Belinda's domineering mother 'tricked' Belinda into trapping the Earl of Berrington in marriage. This was a dream come true to Belinda, as she had loved the Earl since the age of 13 when she first laid eyes on him. During the 3 days it takes to go to the Earl's country estate, after their marriage, he finds the nights with Belinda more passionate than he has ever experienced. At the country estate he leaves Belinda under the care of the 'jealous' sister-in-law, and goes back to London. Belinda is sick and near death when the Earl realizes how much he loves her. Gloria Gay has done a excellent job of blending different emotions in this book. From happiness to sorrow she makes you feel them all. This is definitely a keeper.
This book was a different type of Regency than what I normally enjoy. However, it was a very enjoyable read. Poor Belinda Presleigh was definitely not a beauty. The Earl of Berrington was quite the catch however. Poor Belinda was tricked by her overbearing mother into 'trapping' the Earl into marriage. Of course, Belinda has been in love with the Earl since she was 13. This story chronicles their marriage. It was a very enjoyable read and is definitely a 'keeper'.