Daphne, the fourth daughter of the Reverend Charles Armitage, is beautiful-dazzlingly beautiful-but she is utterly wrapped up in her own appearance. It seems fitting when she decides to marry the exquisite Cyril Archer, who is as empty-headed and vain as she is; after all, once she is safely married, she can hide her true nature behind her beauty, never expected by anyone (least of all her husband) to do or say anything clever. Moreover, marrying Cyril will preserve her from the zealous schemes of her father, whose passion for the hunt is surpassed only by his love of tracking down wealthy, titled husbands for his many daughters. But when Daphne heads home from London, escorted by her eccentric, malaprop cousin, Lady Godolphin, her plans are suddenly thrown awry. Her father, in an aborted attempt to save his hunting pack from a vindictive bishop, finds himself indebted to a certain Mr. Simon Garfield, who is every bit as wealthy as he is noble. So the country vicar offers up the stunning, unwilling Daphne as a bride, forcing her to drop her placid mask in order to fight for the right to make her own match. Meanwhile, Daphne's older sister Annabelle is having troubles of her own. Once so happy in her marriage, she is now losing her husband's love and attention because of their screaming son-or is it their son? Daphne suddenly finds herself in a compromising position when she is given an even more serious reason to resent her father than his marriage plans for her.
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by M.C. Beaton
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