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In order to unite their two feuding outlaw families, fiercely independent Lady Ariadne Fairfax is betrothed to her second cousin Ivor Chalfont, with whom she had been raised. She rarely gives the matter a thought until her grandfather demands that they ratify the contract and wed. Although secretly in love with another, Ari has little choice but to obey. When Ari's grandfather dies unexpectedly, the family elders make sure that she and Ivor marry—immediately—and then head to London to reclaim both families' rightful places at court. With Ari pining for another and Ivor needing to be sure Ari is not with child, their marriage starts out chaste. Yet if Ivor succeeds in his plan, it won't remain that way for long. VERDICT Exceptional plotting, smart protagonists, and enough treachery, bloody religious strife, and political intrigue to bring the turbulent times of the late Restoration vividly to life make this fast-paced, adventurous romance (set during a seldom-used period) a memorable read. Feather (Twelfth Night Secrets) lives on Chesapeake Bay.