Upon at last coming to London for a season, sisters Arabella and Diana expect to have a fun-filled time with parties, rakes, dancing and lots of romance. But their overprotective papa, the rich merchant Joseph Swann, uses his immeasurable wealth to buy two impoverished but titled bridegrooms for his pampered daughters. While Diana at once professes to have fallen in love with her papa’s choice, Arabella isn’t as malleable, even though the Duke of St. Fell is exactly the kind of handsome, charming rogue she’d dreamt would one day court her.
Even though the attraction between them is immediate and intense, Arabella hates it that he’s presented to her as a fait accompli and abhors his fortune-hunting ways. In her quest for romance, she retaliates by flirting with another equally rakish bachelor. Captivated by her romantic notions and determined to marry this feisty young lady, St. Fell begins an irresistible campaign of seduction and charm which is most thoroughly and humorously hampered by overbearing papas, interfering chaperones, Minerva Press novels, frenzied imagination and a very determined young lady.
This book by author Nonnie St. George is utterly enjoyable and likeable despite its somewhat predictable story. Arabella and St. Fell’s curious courting is imaginative and nothing but a delightful and romantic comedy of errors. This procedure is pleasant but becomes a little tedious when painstakingly extended through the length of the novel, especially when the story has very little diametrically opposite sentiments like suspense or pathos to balance it. The author redeems the fluffy tale somewhat with its central theme of arranged marriages and the lack of wealth and property rights which plagued the women in the Regency era. Some intriguing and accurate historical tidbits such as the prevalent effect in those times of the wildly imaginative and highly popular Minerva Press novels on susceptible feminine imaginations (which the author uses to hint ironically on such books’ continuing popularity and repetitive themes even in these current times), adds a smidgen of the unusual. All in all, Courting Trouble remains a lighthearted and entertaining read, and Nonnie St. George’s flair for comic writing is evident.