Here is my second installment in the Regency romance reading challenge hosted by austenprose.com -- "A Change of Heart" by Candice Hern
A third son suddenly inherits the family title after the tragic deaths of his father, brothers and nephew. Unlike his own careful management of his small estate, his family had mismanaged theirs, leaving "Black" Jack Raeburn with a mountain of debt that only marrying an heiress would remedy.
Lady Mary Haviland has no interest in marriage, but is drawn to men of roguish repute as distraction and amusement. Mary offers to assist Jack in his search for a bride, not knowing of his true motives for joining the Marriage Mart.
Jack, through his friend Robert (from A Proper Companion), learns Mary is very wealthy in her own right, with no male relatives to negotiate with. So he turns his considerable charm toward Mary, feeling if he must marry, it might as well be someone he enjoys being around.
Enter in the Revelation of the Secret, leading to a Big Misunderstanding, and the couple has to wait for their HEA.
Mary had total disregard for reputation, mostly due to her disinterest in marriage, and seemed to suffer no social repercussions. It comes to light that Mary's father was slightly mad, and very mean. The book delves into the brainwashing effect Mary's father's abuse had on her, and how it affected her relationships, and how she felt the abuse was her fault.
It is unusual for an historical romance book to deal with issues like abuse in more than just passing. This was, other than Mary's emotional scars, an enjoyable read. 4/5 stars