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Jack Featherstone is related to Belinda Featherstone (When the Marquess Met His Match) by marriage, and, when I read about him in Bel's book, I was intrigued by this young lord who had spent most of his adult life away from London. He's the younger son, and has a tarnished reputation ... but, every interaction he had with Bel showed me that there was something more about him.
Which is why I'm a bit confused with the direction of his own story. It begins with a revenge plot that has been brewing since the second book, and while Jack isn't the aggrieved party, loyalty and honor dictates that he be the one to carry out the plan to avenge Stuart's wife, Edie. I can imagine how difficult it would for a reader, new to the series, to jump into it from this book, as the basis for it is found in the previous books.
If the revenge angle of the story was set aside, I think it would have preserved a bit of Jack's moral integrity (not just as a character, but as the hero). Linnet and Jack's story is actually pretty good: Linnet is an American and an heiress, who has done the rounds of London Society and has now returned home to America, wary of the insincerity of the titled, but penniless members of the Ton. She's determined to make a match in America, and, it seems that she is about to get her wish. Her long-time friend, Frederick Van Hausen, whom she has loved and admired, has finally taken notice of her -- and it seems he has marriage in mind.
But Jack Featherstone just pops in at all the wrong moments ... because Linnet's almost-intended is the man he and his friends are trying to destroy. Yes, they have very good reason for their actions, but I didn't think their methods of doing so were honorable. (In a nutshell: they lured Van Hausen into investing in a dud company, and then pulled the rug from under him.) Plus, Linnet got caught in the crossfire -- and no one ever bothers to explain it to her.
The problem with Jack is that he can't shake off his past or his family's debts, so, when Linnet confronts him about his intentions towards her money, he can't easily say that he's willing to give it up. Because he honestly needs it to help him rebuild his family's fortunes. It's a tricky question: what is the difference between a fortune hunter, and one who needs to marry for money?
... "I am not a fortune hunter."
"No?" Her eyes met his, a dare in their cool blue depths. "Then refuse my dowry. Right here, right now."
By God, he'd have liked to. At this moment, there was nothing he'd have enjoyed more than throwing her oodles of American money in her perfect American teeth. But as tempting as it was, he couldn't do it. Marriage brought responsibilities he couldn't fulfill without money, and he had just enough of an income to support himself. Without a marriage settlement, how would he support her? How could he provide her with a decent home, take care of their children?
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I really wanted to love this book, because I'm such a big fan of Laura Lee Guhrke, and I've enjoyed the first two books of the series, but this one just fell a bit short for me.
Catch a Falling Heiress is Book 3 of Laura Lee Guhrke's An American Heiress in London series. To find out more about Laura Lee Guhrke and her books, click below: