Cris Reads: IF EVER I SHOULD LOVE YOU (Spinster Heiresses #1) by Cathy Maxwell


Once upon a time there were three young ladies who, despite their fortunes, had been on the Marriage Mart a bit too long. They were known as the “Spinster Heiresses” . . . 

He’s inherited a title, but not a penny to speak of, so the Earl of Rochdale knows he must find a wife—preferably one tolerably pretty and good-tempered, but definitely wealthy, and willing to exchange her fortune for his family name.

His choice: Leonie Charnock, one of the season’s “Spinster Heiresses.” Years before, the earl had saved the dark-eyed beauty’s reputation, and she is still breathtakingly lovely, leading Rochdale to hope that their marriage will be more than in name only.

However, Leonie doesn’t want to be anyone’s wife. Nearly destroyed by the secrets in her past, Leonie agrees to their union with one condition: there will be a wedding but no bedding. But it’s a condition the new Countess Rochdale isn’t sure even she can keep . . .


What really makes IF EVER I SHOULD LOVE YOU a joy to read is the depth and development of the characters. When you first meet Leonie you realize that there are scars and secrets in her past but you don’t truly understand the level to which they’ve shaped her until you get deeper into the story. We often see scarred heroes who are struggling to overcome wounds in romance and typically it is the heroine who aids in the healing process and provides the nurturing balm that soothes his soul. I really loved how this story flipped that trope on its head and gave us a heroine who is using alcohol to dull the trauma of her past and help her cope.

And even then, Rochdale doesn’t save Leonie. He illuminates the problem – to both the reader and Leonie herself. She doesn’t just enjoy a wee nip of brandy from time to time, she craves it. She needs it to get through the most basic minutiae of her day. The urge controls her thoughts. But she is the one who must decide for herself what is her top priority. She is the one who must make the conscious decision, day in and day out, to do better.

I loved that the novel didn’t try to sugarcoat the process of dealing with an addiction. We got to experience things from Leonie’s perspective, watch her fail and feel like a disappointment. But we also saw her pick herself back up. We saw her try and try again. And I think that is part of the reason why Leonie is such a beautiful, honest character. She feels so incredibly human in her daily struggle and her desire to belong and be loved by a real family. I think it’s that sense of honesty and relatability which made me unable to put this book down.

For me, perfect characters hold no allure. It’s in the flaws and struggles, the ups and downs, that you really get to connect to a character and feel like you can understand them. Rochdale is supportive and caring and sexy-as-sin. But he is by no means perfect. Watching him struggle with the desire and love he feels for Leonie and the worry that her alcoholism would not only hurt her, but their future together was a delicate balancing act that felt so realistic. That struggle between love and fear, trust and protection is one I can definitely understand.

You can’t help but fall for Leonie and Rochdale together. Their teasing and the push and pull of their relationship as they get to know each other as a newly married couple kept me wanting more. I was so excited to see them start to open up to one another and grow closer that I couldn’t put the book down. Even the other spinster heiresses caught my attention and I can’t wait for the next novel in the series to be released so that I can get to know Cassandra better.

If you’re looking for a historical romance with a second chance romance and a marriage of convenience that becomes more then I think this would be a wonderful novel to pick up. If you’re tired of predictable, two-dimensional characters and weary of insta-love, then IF EVER I SHOULD LOVE YOU is not to be missed. 




Cathy Maxwell’s enthusiasm for life graces the pages of her books and are the topic of the talks she gives to readers and writers groups about her chosen career.
She is no stranger to the limelight.  After graduating from college, Cathy started off as a news broadcaster.  She later decided reporting was boring compared to making news and joined the navy.   After a successful stint in Naval intelligence, including a tour with the Pentagon, Cathy proceeded to pursue writing.  Now, she has 30 published romance novels (and five anthologies) to her credit, many of them spending significant time on the New York Times and USA Today mass market best-seller lists. It’s clear that Cathy has succeeded in achieving her goals to a rare degree!
This native of Olathe, Kansas is now learning how to be a Texan. When not writing, she is likely to be busy with one of many local charities or packing her bags to research her next novel. Cathy’s motto is “travel light” and she enjoys meeting her fans all over the world.
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