by Elizabeth Thornton

July 2005
ISBN: 0-553-58753-6
Reviewer Graphic Button Bantam Books
Mass Market Paperback

Ellie Hill knew from first hand experience that life has a way of turning the tables on a person. That knowledge was brought home one night when a childhood friend arrived at the same ball Ellie was attending. As children she and Jack Rigg were equals, but now Ellie is a paid companion and Jack has become a titled Lord. At first Ellie doesnít expect Jack to recognize her after fifteen years have passed since theyíve seen one another, yet she finds herself quite upset regardless. She knew him immediately. It was insulting that he didnít know her.

Ellie has a more pressing dilemma to deal with besides feeling snubbed. Her younger brother canít seem to stay out of trouble and having promised their mother to take care of Robbie, Ellie bails him out of debt time after time. One night Ellie makes use of her talent at the gaming tables and disguised as ĎAuroraí sets out to win the amount which Robbie needs. Things get dangerous when she winds up in the middle of a melee. None other than Jack, the earl of Raleigh, rescues her.

Ellie certainly does not make the situation any easier. In the face of Jackís evident scorn for what he discerns as an attempt to trap him into marriage Ellie baits him by not denying his allegations. In fact, she plays along. If nothing else it saves her from being tied to a man who detests her. Only Jack is far from detesting Ellie/Aurora. She has fired his interest, not to mention desire. But Ellie would have none of him. The only thing left for Jack to do was to follow her and make sure she didnít find more trouble.

Alas, it would seem trouble was in the cards for this duo. More complications arise and the two agree upon an arrangement of sorts. They marry which makes it easier for Jack to keep an eye on her, but it proves to be a problem for Ellie. With so much going on in their lives does this marriage stand a chance of becoming a real one?

I dare anyone to read The Marriage Trap by Elizabeth Thornton and not fall in love with the characters of Jack and Ellie. They are good people trying to make the best of what life deals them. There are no new concepts in this historical, but the characters make this book one worth reading. Ms. Thornton delivers a romance along the vein of a Jane Austen novel. Thornton fans will be delighted with this first installment of a new trilogy. Iím sure we will be seeing Ash again very soon.

Reviewed in August 2005 by Rho.

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