Now, years later Jane gets invited along for her beautiful cousin Honor's season to act as both companion and chaperon. Just as Fairfax returns to Town to find a new wife.
After five years of unhappy married life, now a widower and with two small daughters Michael is determined not to make the same mistake again and quickly decides that Jane - unlike her cousin Honor - will make him a suitable wife and mother to his children.
He knows he's handsome and he knows Jane is firmly on the shelve, so he figures she'll be happy for his proposal of a marriage of convenience... but she isn't. Much as he might have loved him (from afar) once, Jane isn't ready to settle.
Instead, she does accept the proposal of Fairfax's best friend Sedge as she thinks they have enough things in common and will get along well. Her betrothal results on Jane spending some time at Michael's state, where she gets to know his two daughters - Amy and Claire and gets to see a whole new side of Michael's, revealing a man she could actually love, instead of just the idea of him.
Second Glance: An Unacceptable Offer is one of the few Mary Balogh books that I love - I usually have a love-hate relationship with them, and they are kind of guilty pleasures because of it - because it really shows two people getting to know each other and falling in love.
At the beginning, both Jane and Michael were seeing just what they wanted to see, but once they are out of each other's reach - because she's engaged to his best friend - they start to see each other from whom they are and realize how perfect they are for each other. Which brings us to Sedge, he really is a minor character but I really liked him, he sees clearly what Jane and Michael can't and when the time comes he lets them be happy.
Sedge also has a nice secondary story with Jane's cousin, Honor, who likes to pretend to be a pretty airhead because she thinks that's what men want, and only allows herself to be who she is around Sedge.
Bottom Line: An Unacceptable Offer is a really nice comfort read. It is story of it's time (first published in the late 80's) so don't expect it to be super steamy, but I still liked seeing how Jane and Michael got to know each other.