To Marry and To Meddle by Martha Waters
After her two best friends have gotten their happily ever after, Emily Turner knows her future will probably not be filled with as much love and happiness, but an offer by Julian Belfry sounds like a wonderful alternative to what her father has in mind. Julian is trying to bolster his reputation among the ton and realizes that Emily has been able to stay above scandal, especially with the scandal following her family. Julian proposes a business arrangement type of marriage and Emily agrees on the condition that he never lie to her if asked a direct question and they get married before they get back to London (before her parents can put a stop to it). Julian and Emily have a diplomatic wedding and their wedding night is not what either anticipated. Once back in London, the two set about trying to help each other with their situations and realize they do actually care about the other one, which is not part of their agreement. The cat makes a nice comic addition to all situations he is present.
Character List/Book Summary:
Emily Turner – stays above scandal that has followed her family (two from her brother and one from her father being blackmailed) and being forced to associate with Mr. Cartham. Agrees to Julian’s proposal to help bolster his reputation and the reputation of his theater. Emily asks that Julian never lie to her if asked a direct question, and agrees to meet with ladies in the ton to help try and get a better reputation for his theater. While meeting with the ladies Emily learns that Julian’s father has secretly been helping his son and is treated rather rudely by some (which Julian overhears). Emily has a strained relationship with her parents but tries several times to make it better, and Julian supports her until they are rude to Emily’s face and steps in to defend her.
Julian Belfry – proposes to Emily as a business deal. Disowned by his father when Julian refused to sell his theater when his younger sister comes of age. Is attacked by Cecil on his wedding night and detests the cat and the affection that Emily shows to it, but defends the cat to Emily’s mother when defending Emily. Julian doesn’t want Emily at the theater, but relents when there are worse alternatives. Pays off Emily’s father’s debt to Mr. Cartham and threatens Mr. Cartham with blackmail of his own if he says anything bad Emily’s father. Threatens and physically attacks Mr. Cartham when Mr. Cartham says something disparaging about Emily. Realizes he cares about Emily and how unlike the ladies of the ton she can be when she lets her guard down.
Marquess of Eastvale – Julian’s father. After he disowns Julian, tells the ton that if they treat Julian badly or make him an outcast he will not treat them well either. Is happy to meet Emily after he finds out from his daughter that Julian and Emily are married.
Robert – Julian’s older brother, visits Julian in secret. Remembers dancing with Emily her first year out.
Frances – Julian’s younger sister, married to Earl of Rosedale. When Julian and Emily get stuck (with Cecil) in the rain on their return to London they stay with her for a few days. She sends a letter to her parents letting them know of Julian’s marriage.
Mr. Cartham – Emily’s father owes him a considerable amount and is blackmailing her father as well.
Laverre – Julian’s business manager at the theater, when he is not his usual demanding self Julian gets suspicious.