Leo Hathaway and Catherine Marks have been hissing and spitting at each other for a couple of books now. It's been fun, for we know that the mutual antagonism is just a thin veneer covering the mutual lust each is barely holding in check. In the last Hathaway book, Leo and Cat shared an explosive kiss, which sets up their story in Married by Morning.
The Hathaways are an odd family, raised in common, though genteel, circumstances until Leo became Viscount Ramsay most unexpectedly. They've never quite assimilated into the ton, giving them the reputation as eccentrics, but they are happy in their eccentricity. The younger girls, however, needed a governess and companion who could school them in the ways of society. The buttoned-down Catherine Marks has filled that role admirably though, of course, Cat is not all that she appears to be.
Leo's fiancée died in his arms of scarlet fever five years ago. He went a bit mad afterwards, wallowing in grief and alcohol. While he has recently pulled himself away from the brink and there are definite dark corners remaining in his soul, he is also genuinely witty and funny. It's this pull between the light and the dark that makes Leo such an interesting character. And perfect for Catherine, who needs some lightening up. Leo's favorite pastime is riling her up and she in turn loves putting him in his place.
Once The Kiss happens, things change quickly. Throw in one of those "only in a romance novel" will stipulations that Leo must marry and produce an heir or lose the family home plot device and we are on our way toward another classic Lisa Kleypas Good Time.
My only real concern about the novel is that I would not recommend this book to someone who had not read the previous books in the "Hathaway Family" series. It is clear to the reader that Leo and Cat are already in love when the book begins, though they don't know it. If a reader hasn't read the other books, she may feel that the strong feelings Leo and Cat have comes out of left field, not having witnessed the heated encounters in the previous books.
But, having read the aforementioned previous books, I enjoyed Leo and Cat working through their problems and finding their HEA. The rest of the family members are a delight, as always. The series winds up next month with Beatrice's book, Love in the Afternoon. I will miss the Hathaways.
Reviewed by Cheryl Sneed, June 18, 2010