This HaBO request comes from Irene, who is trying to identify a book her housemate keeps talking about:
My housemate has been describing this book to me, and I am, frankly, desperate to read it. Things she remembers:
The heroine is the illegitimate daughter of a nobleman and his mistress.
The heroine is destined for a life as a mistress, and her mother and her mother’s friends are trying to set her up with a nice young man as her first paramour.
The heroine and hero agree to fake a relationship for REASONS. (Her mother and her friends are trying to do right by her within their scope, they are not bad people)
He is supposed to bring her flowers, and the heroine’s mother sees him bring…a bare branch? And her friend goes “No! This is trouble! He has brought her a BARE ROOT ROSE! THE MOST ROMANTIC GIFT.”
At some point the hero and heroine are FORCED INTO MARRIAGE and he goes off feeling like he was LURED.
The heroine’s parents have broken up because her father said ‘how dare you lure my daughter into being a mistress!’ and her mother is all ‘I’M YOUR MISTRESS’.
At some point the heroine, her mother, and her new (grand-)mother-in-law are all living together. The (grand-)mother in law has a history of dodgy marriages.
My housemate is no longer sure it was any good, but she keeps describing it, and I must know.
Who knows this one?