Book Review: The Stranger I Wed

Harper St. George brings to us a new spicy Gilded Age romance series with The Stranger I Wed.

Pub Date: April 23, 2024


New to wealth and to London high society, American heiress Cora Dove discovers that with the right man, marriage might not be such an inconvenience after all. . . .

Cora Dove and her sisters’ questionable legitimacy has been the lifelong subject of New York’s gossipmongers and a continual stain on their father’s reputation. So when the girls each receive a generous, guilt-induced dowry from their dying grandmother, the sly Mr. Hathaway vows to release their funds only if Cora and her sisters can procure suitable husbands—far from New York. For Cora, England is a fresh start. She has no delusions of love, but a husband who will respect her independence? That’s an earl worth fighting for.

Enter: Leopold Brendon, Earl of Devonworth, a no-nonsense member of Parliament whose plan to pass a Public Health bill that would provide clean water to the working class requires the backing of a wealthy wife.  He just never expected to crave Cora’s touch or yearn to hear her thoughts on his campaign—or to discover that his seemingly perfect bride protects so many secrets…

But secrets have a way of bubbling to the surface, and Devonworth has a few of his own. With their pasts laid bare and Cora’s budding passion for women’s rights taking a dangerous turn, they’ll learn the true cost of losing their heart to a stranger—and that love is worth any price.


I am going to be honest with you. I was not expecting the spice. I was expecting some sort of historical fiction romance taking place in the Gilded Age with zero spice. I mean, honestly, historical romances are not known for any spice in the bedroom. These stories have been historically known to be absolutely boring. Did women even know what an orgasm was until the Feminist Movement?

Well, maybe Asian women did because men were taught the importance of making women orgasm so that it can increase the chances of pregnancy. But English men during the Gilded Age knowing how to pleasure a woman? I think that is the fictional part of this story.

Ok. So the market today is to add spice to any sort of romance story. Women want their eggplant and peaches stories that fall more under the pornographic end of the spectrum. I was in the kitchen getting a cup of coffee, listening to the audiobook going into detail of their first encounter. I literally stopped what I was doing, raised an eyebrow, and said, “Oh, we’re going there with this story?” Totally unexpected from Berkley Publishing. But alas, tis the market these days.

That spice was a signal to me that I am not allowed to listen to the audiobook or read the book in public. And the Maine Coon better be asleep because I feel embarrassed when he looks at me. Oh, these are things I don’t want going on in my mind in any setting where the cat or a human can sense I must be reading something super spicy.

So now that I have clarified this book is spicy, most of you will have already headed to Amazon,, or whatever your favorite retailer is to purchase this book. For the rest of you who need more than the spice, keep reading.

This is for the people who love Gilded Age/historical fiction stories. What intrigued me about this story is that the book shows another angle to the New York debutantes with money looking for an English title. Cora Dove, the illegitimate daughter of a wealthy NY businessman, does not want to marry. She just wants her inheritance. But since her father doesn’t want her mixing with people in American society (to save his wife and legitimate daughter from embarrassment), he’s made the caveat that she (and her sisters) must marry if she wants her inheritance. So she decides to marry someone with a title in England.

Her father agrees, so she, her sisters, and their mother (a former actress), sell their home and head to England in search of a husband with the help of one of her friends who married a gentleman in England.

As they are doing their reconnaissance, Leopold Brendon stumbles upon Cora. Literally. And that’s all it takes for their story to begin. He needs her money and she needs a husband. Works out just fine.

But what happens if this business deal could be more than just a business deal that would allow her to divorce him in a couple of years? What if they were to fall in love? What happens then?

This story is also the beginning of women’s rights in England, when women are seeking their freedom to own their own property. There was a time when women could not access their money or their property without a man. Their fathers, brothers, husbands, etc. were responsible for their property. Women were not allowed to handle their own finances, have bank accounts, own property, etc. without a man. At this juncture of the Dove sisters’ stories, giving women the right to their own property is set to a vote.

The Stranger I Wed is the first book in this Gilded Age series featuring the Dove sisters as they navigate English society, and being a woman looking for a husband so they can access their own inheritance. They will be met with suffragettes and their rights to vote, and so many more stories affecting women in their quest to be free.

You can purchase a copy of this book in the or Amazon Bookshop links in the Shop menu.

Oh, and just to clarify, I think I’d put this as NC-17 on the spice scale. Not quite X-rated, but definitely spicier than R.