Elizabeth Rolls

Books: Romance | Historical

A Marriage of Equals (2021)

A Marriage of Equals (2021)

A Marriage of EqualsSet in England in 1804

TW: Discussion of attempted rape, parental death, slavery, violence against women.

Psyché Winthrop-Abeni may be the bastard daughter of a slave, but her father eventually sought to do right by her, bringing her to England and her freedom, where she eventually came to own and run a coffee house. But her neighbor places her in danger when she agrees to help hide his niece, who was to be forced into marriage by her father.

Truth: I almost immediately had to stop reading once I got to that bit, because I had it in my mind that coffee houses were the sole domains of men.

Sally did roll her eyes. 'Women don't come in 'ere, guv. Saving the mistress and meself. It's a coffee 'ouse, ain't it? Gents only.'

And I was correct. Many coffee houses did not allow women–but there were women who owned and ran them.

So I immediately learned something new!

Then I realized the main character was the daughter of a slave and had been a slave as a child and I was not sure if I was up to reading it, but the violence and horror were not sensationalized and although difficult, did not leave one feeling hopeless, even if the story did nothing to hide what life was like in the early 1800s, when slavery was still legal in many places, and women were treated as chattel.

'A disgraceful affair!' … 'A pretty pass we are come to when a young woman decides for herself whom she will or will not marry!

Heaven forbid.

I really liked Psyché, as well as Will Barclay. And I adored both of the uncles in this story.

I thought the reasons for her not wanting to marry were quite sound, and always prefer outside forces keeping the couple apart (I consider the treatment of women by society at large an outside force).

There was, however, a lot of boinking. I appreciated the clear talk about birth control and how Psyché protected herself, but I still find all the boinking bits boring. Luckily, they were pretty skim-able, with little important to the plot done or said.

Although this was a stand alone, it was obvious that other couples in the story had their own book. I didn't feel like I missed anything not having read those books, but those bits sometimes felt less integral to the plot and more dropped in for those who had enjoyed the previous books. Not a deal breaker by any means, but I found those scenes a little slow.

So interesting, and I would consider reading another book by the author, but I'm not going to search them out, mostly because they're also likely to have a lot of boinking.

Publisher: Harlequin Historical

January 2022 | Rating: 7/10