Marrying Winterbourne follows Helen, a sheltered debutante, and her engagement to Rhys, a worldly department store owner, as they navigate their place in society and Helen learns her true origins. It was an engrossing story, but I would encourage readers to stick with it. It doesn’t get interesting until about a third of the way through.
In Marrying Winterbourne, I was put off by just how ideologically regressive some of the characters were, though it is to be expected from a “historical” romance. Helen was taught very little in her early adulthood about human reproduction and sexuality, and several chapters were devoted to her husband-to-be mansplaining her own sexuality to her. He had an uncomfortable way of coercing her into situations she did not want to be in.
I love the way characters in “historical” romance must operate within the confines of the mores of the time. Marriage is forever and a necessary institution for men and women alike. Rhys and Helen’s romance eventually grew on me. Beyond the dubious, unsexy sex scenes, they ended up as a very devoted pair. Devon, Kathleen, Pandora, Cassandra, and Charity, a handful of secondary characters, were also endearing and well-developed in their own right.