...for the length and vagueness of this post.
In recent years I've thought of and tried to recall a book read in the early-to-late 1970's.
The publishing date would have been late 1960's to mid-1970's or thereabouts.
Author - frequently Victoria Holt, Georgette Heyer - that ilk.
When: 1700's or 1800's (?)
Where: Probably England or America
Male protagonist: Most likely 30's, wealthy, landowner - estate
Female protagonist: 20-ish (?) - loyal, basically sensible
How they got together:
She was sent for, brought to his manor. He offered to send her brother to a prestigious school or place of employment in exchange for her marrying him. Uncertain how she came to his attention, perhaps her father had been in his employ or had been a tenant and then died. Her brother may be the only close family she has remaining to her. Male made it appear to be primarily a business deal - he helps her brother and she gives him an heir.
Wedding night - don't remember details, but was apparently business-like as opposed to seductive or violent. I remember that the morning after, at breakfast she was embarrassed to be around someone who had touched her intimately. He matter-of-factly told her that it would get better in time.
Their marriage continues and the relationship does seem to be improving. Then, of course comes the crisis. He was away from the house (on his land or a trip elsewhere) and a man comes and visits with her. She does not know that he is her husband's enemy. The baddie may want to get the estate, either by fraud or killing her husband.
He has gone when the husband returns. Either he found out about the bad guy being there, or she told him. He accused her of plotting against him. A violent rape occurs - don't think it was more than a sentence or so - and then he rides off after the other guy. A female servant helps her, getting ointment or salve for the damage the "hero" inflicted on her. Despite being in physical pain, the heroine believes that she has to save his life. She rides off after both men. No idea what happens, I assume that the other guy was killed or imprisoned.
The husband is shocked that she would care what happened to him, after he had raped her and so brutally. He tells her that he had wanted her very badly before they were married, but that he was "trying to not scare her off" by being too amorous. He had been trying to gradually lead her into a closer, more sexual relationship.
The only other clue that I can recall is the feeling the word green may have been in the title...seems to me that the estate or at least the coveted/disputed part had Green in the name.
Up until the rape, I had enjoyed the book well enough. It was working as a character study and I remember wishing that the melodramatic elements had not been introduced into the story. Realize that this filtered through several decades and literally an untold number of books in the interim.
Any help would be greatly appreciated. I've tried to locate the book using various search parameters, but so oftentimes the older books do not contain a synopsis. This was a library book, and seen for perhaps a week or two.
Thanks in advance,
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