The Patient Bridegroom
Publisher: Barbara Cartland
Returning to his family estate after a long absence in India serving under the much-loved and now-deceased Viceroy, Michael, the handsome Earl of Rayburne, is appalled to find that his estate and the local village have gone to rack and ruin.
It seems that his uncle to whom he had entrusted them has embezzled everything that the Earl owns, including the contents of Rayburne Castle and has decamped with his loot to America.
Penniless and unable to pay the estate's workers and pensioners, who are on the verge of starvation, he has no choice but to throw himself on the mercy of Lord Frazer, the owner of the neighbouring estate and his family's bitter enemy in an age-old land dispute over a wood.
To the Earl's astonishment the hateful Lord Frazer offers him not a loan but a gift, amounting to fifty thousand ponds, in order to combine their two estates.
But there is one other condition. The Earl must marry Lord Frazer's young daughter, Ansella, whom he has never even met.
Although now he can begin to rescue the estate and its people from ruin, the Earl is in despair, certain that Lord Frazer's daughter will be an ugly harridan who can never become the beloved 'Lady in the Castle' like his late and much-loved mother.
But everything changes when he finally sees his bride after their Marriage Service.
She is beautiful!
Her face is heart-shaped and her hair is pale gold like the sun at dawn – little wonder that soon the young Earl of Rayburne realises that he is falling in love.