The Wedding Wager by Eva Devon
Games of chance may earn you more than you bargained for…
When the Duke of Chase sees Lord Kirby gambling his daughter’s hand in marriage to a most disreputable sort of aristocrat, Derek finds it a great opportunity to honor a long held vow, while saving the woman from a cruel fate. Rumored among the Ton to be lacking the desired beauty and social graces expected of a high born lady, Victoria Kirby seems to be the perfect wife for him; he won’t find her attractive, therefore he will have no desire to produce offspring by her. Victory has no desire to play the social games of the Ton or enter into a marriage that would expect her to give up her passion for archaeology and intellectual pursuits in order to produce heirs. Up to this point she believes her father is content to let her continue as his spinster assistant and she is shocked at his betrayal when she learns she will be the Duchess of Chase. As their marriage begins, neither is prepared for the fact that the other is so much more than they bargained for.
I would have liked to give The Wedding Wager a higher rating but there were a few things that disconnected me from a full immersion into the story. Derek and Victoria’s initial reaction to each other, which is excessively replayed in the first few chapters, is written as a love at first sight encounter. This seems unrealistic given that they both are entrenched in their position of remaining unattached. It also seem unlikely given that you subsequently see how the love that they develop for each other comes as a result of discovering the character and intelligence of the other, not because of their looks, wealth, or position in society. My other stumbling point was how the Duke of Chase is referred to through out the story. While it seemed appropriate for others and even Victoria initially to refer to him as Chase it seemed weird that after they become close and she refers to him as Derek, she and the narrator almost exclusively refer to him as Chase for the rest of the story. To be honest, when writing this review I had to go back and look for his first name, it had been used so infrequently, because in my mind he was named Chase after reading it so much.
I did honestly enjoy The Wedding Wager, especially the relationship development and romance between Derek and Victoria. Their verbal interactions were witty and their physical encounters captured the awe at finding someone so alluring and fulfilling, specifically Victoria’s POV since she had absolutely no personal experience with men in a amorous sense. Her honest assessment of their initial romantic interludes was quite entertaining. I also like how they developed a solid relationship based on appreciation and admiration. They shared a similar view on social issues that was ahead of their time and found common ground in working to make things better for those around them who were not in a position to break free of those norms and bonds. I think I might have actually like Derek’s relationship with his best friend, Brookhaven, the best.
Chase snorted. “Dead indeed. Let’s do this dance, and the we’ll see who’s dead.’ Brookhaven laughed again. “Word’s are a fool’s weapon! Use the one in your hand.”
The Wedding Wager by Eva Devon is a solid regency romance with a good cast of characters and fulfilling ending. It may take a little to get invested but once you do you will enjoy the progression to its happily ever after conclusion.