Fool for Love (Duchess Quartet Series #2)

Fool for Love - Eloisa James While this book is definitely about Henrietta and Simon, it's also about Esme and Sebastian... unfortunately, because it's Henrietta's and Simon's story, we're left hanging with Esme and Sebastian. I can only hope that the next book in the series ("A Wild Pursuit") will tell us more.My recommendation is that you MUST read the first book, "Duchess in Love", before reading this one. If you don't, you won't understand the sub-plot starring Lady Esme Rawlings and her "gardener", Sebastian.I wasn't certain I would like this book from its description. I was pleased to find Esme and Sebastian in the story -- and sorry that the description didn't include at least a mention of them.Simon is all that we'd expect in a Regency romance hero -- titled, arrogant, passionate, and a good guy behind the rake mask. Henrietta is what we'd expect of a Regency romance heroine -- beautiful without realizing it, witty, intelligent, and outspoken. But Henrietta is also what we don't expect -- she's lame in one hip, which means she'll never bear children. What she doesn't realize is that the general consensus is that her infirmity also means she cannot perform her marital duties, and since those lead to childbearing, Henrietta shouldn't be married at all.Simon and Henrietta learn this cold fact in a sobering way. Simon has uncovered the passionate side of Henrietta and can't contemplate a marriage to her without consummation. Henrietta is naive enough to think that they can live as most of the ton do -- Simon will take a mistress to take care of his "baser" needs, and she and Simon can live comfortably in a companionable marriage. When she realizes this can't be, Esme comes to the rescue.Esme tells Henrietta about a form of birth control in that day -- a sheath. No, not what you think, it's more like a diaphragm that's soaked in vinegar before being inserted. And since Esme believes that Simon and Henrietta are perfect for one another, she also arranges for Henrietta to be compromised so that Simon must marry her. Simon has already gone to Henrietta's step-mother to ask permission to marry her; that's when the harsh reality of her infirmity was made perfectly clear to him. So Esme decides that the love letter that Henrietta wrote to herself (supposedly from Simon) is just the thing to spring the trap at an at-home dinner party.Once Henrietta and Simon are married, Henrietta can't imagine what the horrid fuss was about marital duties; she finds them quite enjoyable. Until she discovers that she's pregnant. Now what? Simon won't risk losing her. As much as she wants the child, she has to think about Josie and Anabel, who now look to Henrietta as their mother.----------------------I did enjoy this book immensely. It surprises me, a little, because authors like Eloisa James follow the formula perfectly and still manage to create new stories, new situations, and new characters that pull the readers in! I loved that Simon was so protective of Henrietta! I loved the interchange between the two of them, when he's trying to get a reaction from her, and she remains completely calm. But when he kisses her... they both lose themselves to that moment.Well done, enjoyable book. I just wish, as I've said, that we had more resolution with Esme and Sebastian. They made this book for me, too. I like the changes in Sebastian. And while I fear that unless Esme has a girl there's no hope for their love, I can't wait to find out more!