"Marital Duty" sits somewhere between OK and Could Not Finish.
I liked the premise, but the execution fell flat - there was barely any buildup before Selina and Evaline started having at it and then suddenly Kingston's all for it and Beaumont's mad except then suddenly it's all good and they're all in bed together.
It wasn't believable in the slightest, not if this was a contemporary story and especially not since it's a historical.
The reader is expected to believe that two gently bred young women are just going to start going at it without any discussion, any hints, any tentative touches. Then things really get incredible when Evaline plays voyeur, leading to more shenanigans, and throughout everything, there is barely any persuasion that these people love each other or know and understand each other. It felt a bit like the author just wanted to write a romp between four people and in that sense Marital Duty could be read with that in mind, but for a historical, it really didn't work for me.
Marital duty has never been so satisfying...
Each morning while pretending to be asleep, Evaline St. John, Lady Kingston, submits to her husband's attentions. She can never dare admit she yearns for more...until her friend Selina, Lady Beaumont, initiates a conversation about what she does with her own husband in the bedroom.
But Selina is bored with her intimate life and suggests that she and Evaline seduce their husbands. She will begin while Evaline will hide in the bedroom to watch. Evaline and Selina do more than make a pact, however. They give in to unspeakable desires and soon they are exploring each other's bodies as they always dreamed.
When Evaline is forced to confess her misdeeds to her husband, Lord Kingston, he is shocked, but also aroused. The admission changes everything he believed about his wife--for the better. Now, whatever Evaline demands, he happily delivers.
Evaline and Selina realize they are falling in love--with each other--yet they still love their husbands. What are the two women to do?
When Selina's husband catches all of them together in bed, he flies into a jealous rage and forbids them from ever seeing each other again. Now, it's up to Lord Kingston to issue the ultimatum to Beaumont: come to their bed or lose them forever. Kingston must show his former friend that he has nothing to fear...and everything to gain.