Mrs. Drew Plays her Hand by Carla Kelly
Roxanna Drew is left a very poor widow after her sick husband dies. Her Brother-in-law tries to make arrangements to care for her and her two daughters, but make it clear that those arrangements will include his unwanted attentions. Sickened, Roxanna begs the caretaker at a nearby estate to stay in a small cottage that is falling apart.
The owner, a military man named Lord Winn has been absent from the property from years being too busy waging war for the king to visit the property. Now that Napoleon has been defeated he must travel visit all his properties and see to their maintenance or sell them off. He must impose upon the hospitality of Mrs. Drew when he arrives at his property too late to make contact with his steward. He falls in love not only with Mrs. Drew but her children and jumps at the chance to marry her to protect her from the machinations of her brother-in-law.
I enjoyed reading about Roxanne and her children. I loved how the author made the children such charming characters in the story, and you can see why Lord Winn loved them. Roxanne was also a warm and loving character, but also very strong. I really liked that about her. I sometimes found Lord Winn to be a bit of a jerk on occasion, but I found him funny also. I loved how he would make jokes about being in the military and taught the girls to wager. One thing about the end that I found a bit beyond belief was how easily they made amends with Mr. Drew, Roxanne’s brother-in-law. I was really surprised that Roxanne would allow her daughter to stay in his house, under his care alone, after the way he acted toward her. I would worry for my daughter’s safety, and thought the main characters were pretty dumb in how they dealt with that situation.
Despite that I really enjoyed this read and found the characters solid and entertaining, and the setting fun. For those fans of regency romance this one is sure to please.