A Counterfeit Wife

Romance - Historical
365 Pages
Reviewed on 11/18/2022
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Celebrated for her complex characters, realistic conflicts, and sensual portrayal of love, Paullett Golden writes historical romance for intellectuals. Her novels, set primarily in Georgian England, challenge the genre's norm by starring characters loved for their flaws, imperfections, and idiosyncrasies. Her plots explore human psyche, mental and physical trauma, and personal convictions. Her stories show love overcoming adversity. Whatever our self-doubts, love will out.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Antoinette Wessels for Readers' Favorite

A Counterfeit Wife by Paullett Golden is a real basis for a fairy tale. A merchant arranges a marriage for his daughter to the Marquess of Pickering who inherited a bankrupt estate. Phoebe Whittington has no plans to follow through with her father’s arrangement and devises a plan to escape this marriage. Her plan involves her lady’s maid J’non pretending to be her and marrying Lord Pickering. J’non refuses to participate in this dangerous and ridiculous plan, but she is forced into it by her selfish employer. With no way out of this situation, J’non makes her way to the estate of Lord Pickering with the intention of informing him of the fraudulent plan and setting everything straight. But fate has other plans and before long J’non is married to the Marquess of Pickering. When love enters the equation, it becomes even more difficult for J’non to tell the truth, but unfortunately, the truth always comes out.

What a delightful tale that promises true love will conquer all. Stories like A Counterfeit Wife by Paullett Golden give me hope that all will turn out well in the end and everyone will find the happy ending they deserve. Golden had me on my toes a few times, making me believe that this was the end for the lovely sweet J’non, a character you just can’t help rooting for. The novel ensures there are enough cliffhangers to keep you entertained, but is still light-hearted enough that you will feel relaxed while reading it. Character development took place until the very last chapter and I enjoyed seeing the main characters bringing out the best in each other. This story made me believe in true love again. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a lovely historical romance.

K.C. Finn

A Counterfeit Wife is a work of fiction in the historical romance subgenre. It is best suited to the general adult reading audience and was penned by author Paullett Golden. In this charming historical work filled with suspense, secrets, and surprises, we follow the exploits of J’non and Trevor, who come together in marriage when J’non, a maid, helps her mistress to elope and marries the Marquess in her place. When Trevor discovers the woman he loves is an impostor, his stature demands that he be outraged. Yet, J’non’s true nature is all too alluring and may encourage him to defy convention after all.

Author Paullett Golden has crafted a fascinating premise for a historical romance, and it’s one that will keep readers on their toes throughout as the romantic tension builds and so many twists keep the passionate journey of J’non and Trevor alive. I especially enjoyed the dialogue in this work, which I felt had a great flavor and atmosphere of history but was also accessible for contemporary readers, and still allowed us to get up close with the emotions of the central couple. Trevor’s journey of discovery is well-plotted and realistically paced, and I enjoyed his conflict immensely. J’non had a very different hurdle to overcome during the tale as she fulfills her role of counterfeit and the truth is revealed. Overall, I would certainly recommend A Counterfeit Wife for historical fiction and romance fans alike: a high-quality atmospheric read with twists and turns in all the right places.

Delene Vrey

Trevor Gaines, the new Marquess of Pickering, is in a pickle. He needs money to save the home farm and the village in his charge. Not caring whom he marries as long as her dowry is the largest, he welcomes his new bride. But something nags him. Her description and demeanor do not concur with the woman he greets at the carriage. Not once after the marriage will Trevor ask himself – who did I marry? J'non, the lady's maid to Miss Phoebe Whittington, is left with a predicament of her own. Her mistress has run off with a lover and left J'non to take Phoebe's place as the new Marchioness of Pickering. As Lord Pickering does not afford her a chance to correct the mistaken identity, she goes ahead with the marriage. What will happen when the truth comes out? Will Trevor's anger and her duplicity have dire consequences for the two? A Counterfeit Wife by Paullett Golden promises a historical love story of two people brought together by circumstance.

A Counterfeit Wife by Paullett Golden is a story with no outrageous balls, dangerous shootouts, and kidnappings. Still, it looks at the life of a marquess as he discovers his new environment and feels the pressure of having people depend on him when he is not prepared for a farming estate. The story showcases the custom of marrying for money and often marrying a stranger. Golden provides a well-researched background to country life and nature's influence on the whole community. The themes that stood out for me are that everyone wears a mask and that through the pressure of position and convention, people seldom even come to know the person they married or have the opportunity to be their authentic selves. As always, the author delivered a book with exquisite language and style.

Alex Ndirangu

It's 1795 in England, and Phoebe Whittington is on her way to Sladesbridge court to meet her betrothed, the Marquis of Pickering. Miss Whittington, however, isn't thrilled about meeting her betrothed. Her father pressured her into the engagement out of his selfish motives, and now she wants to devise a plan to escape. The next day, Miss Whittington has secret plans to meet her real love, Freddy, and together they will set out for France, never to set foot in London again. Because the nobleman hasn't met her yet, Miss Whittington tries to persuade her maid, J'non, to take her place as the next Marchioness of Pickering. But J'non wants to have nothing to do with such treachery. After a long night of peering through the bedframe for reassurance that Miss Whittington is still sleeping, J'non wakes up in the morning to go for breakfast. However, when she returns to the inn, she discovers that only pillows and waded clothing are beneath the sheets, and Miss Whittington is long gone! J'non continues her journey alone to Sladesbridge Court to announce the fleeing of the marquis' betrothed. But when she arrives, the marquis doesn't give her a chance to explain, and before she knows it, they've exchanged wedding vows. Will J'non's arrival at the estate, claiming to be a wealthy and reputable beauty, get her into trouble? Is there a chance that her marriage will blossom before her secret comes to light? Read A Counterfeit Wife by Paullett Golden to find out.

A Counterfeit Wife is a masterfully paced adventure that you will find difficult to put down thanks to the profoundly emotional character connections, stunning plot discoveries that catch you off guard, and the slow-smoldering romance. The plot is brilliant. You will resonate with the characters' shortcomings, smile when luck shines on them, and feel their pain when life throws harsh realities at them. The power of love is depicted through the story of Phoebe and Freddy. Phoebe leaves everything behind, including her family, to be with Freddy, her true love. This is one of the scenarios that paint a beautiful picture of the extent to which people will go to fulfill their hearts' desires. Paullett Golden superbly fleshed out the characters who all have very distinct personalities and play significant roles in the plot. Even Gunner, the dog, was well-developed. The story's pace was smooth. The dialogue was fluid and natural, influenced by the characters' emotions but not overwhelmed by them. A Counterfeit Wife will be enjoyed by readers who believe in love and anyone ready to be swept away by a gripping storyline. History lovers will also love this story because of the setting. It's a worthwhile read that will stay with them for a long time.

Stephanie Chapman

Paulett Golden challenges aristocracy standards in her romance novel, A Counterfeit Wife. In the first book in The Siren’s Series, Phoebe Whittington is angry that her father is forcing her to marry the Marquess of Pickering. She wants to marry Freddy Wilkins. As they start out of London, Phoebe tells J’non, her maid, she is going to elope with Mr. Wilkins and flee the country. She insists J’non continue to Pickering and pretend to be her. J’non arrives at Pickering and is shocked when he tells her they will exchange vows the following day. J’non intends to tell him about the mistake but doesn’t have the nerve to do so. Pickering is happy with the woman and finds he is falling in love. When he has her walk with him on the farmland, J’non has a slip of the tongue and reveals her first name. From that moment, Trevor Gaines bonds with his wife, while J’non hides her secret.

I can empathize with J’non’s predicament. As a lady’s maid, she has the opportunity of a lifetime to marry someone beyond her station in life. I felt the Marquess almost has a split personality when he goes from a cold Lord Pickering to being Trevor. J’non and Trevor complement each other well with their intelligent conversations and how playfully they joke with each other. The only barrier in their marriage is that neither can look past the reason for the arrangement. J’non is hiding her identity and Trevor’s childhood makes him avoid love. The supporting characters are well-developed and add to the storyline. I like how the villagers gain respect and help support the renovations of the estate. J’non’s sewing group is exactly how a gossiping group of village women should appear. The realistic factors of finances, appearances, and avoidance of telling partial truths add to the suspense of the plot. The possibility of J’non’s true identity is always hanging in the air. Unpredictability adds appeal and kept me from putting the book down. I recommend Paulett Golden’s A Counterfeit Wife to readers who enjoy a suspenseful romance story where love hangs unsaid.