Silver Lining - Maggie Osborne I'm really not sure how to rate this book. Objectively, it was a very well-written and finely-tuned tale with excellent characterization, storytelling, and character development. However, I didn't really connect with or feel pulled in by the story and characters until about midway through the book. It may in part be my own fault for picking a story that clearly has an "other woman" built into the premise, which is a trope that I'm rather biased against. The hero is engaged to another woman when he pulls out the scratched marble that seals his fate and ties him to the heroine in matrimony. He enters the marriage with a pretty heavy heaping of ill will, and the fall out of scandal that the hasty marriage brings to his family, the town, and his former fiancee is pretty devastating.

I thought the story was portrayed well and realistically, but I just didn't find much joy in reading about it for a good part of the beginning. It was a little painful to read their awkwardness together and his resenting the position in which he found himself. I did not feel connected to the hero, but I did feel compassion for the heroine and her unspoken reasons for wanting a baby. She was very likable with her brash, but kind ways. I'm not sure if I'm making any sense, but it's one of those things where, although I recognize this story unfolded in a very deliberate and precise way, I didn't feel all that invested in their romance or HEA until maybe halfway through, if that. I'm cautiously going with a 3.5-4 stars, though, because I did like the payoff and ending, and I know the storytelling deserves high marks.