CHRIS EVANS as JULIAN TREVALLON
Julian Trevallon is the 12th Earl of Pennington. He is handsome, brave (served at Waterloo), well built, and a very nice person. Far from being born into extreme wealth, by the time Julian inherited his title and his estates, his father had squandered the family’s fortune on his eldest son’s debts. So, Julian has learned about life from the School of Hard Knocks and there is no ‘arrogance born of the upper crust’ in his nature and attitude. He is consumed with doing the right thing – restoring the family fortunes – even if it means doing the wrong thing – entering into a marriage of convenience with a woman he doesn’t even know just to receive his great-uncle Oswald’s estate. He is hard-working, and digs in with his tenant farmers to get the land producing well. He shuts himself off from emotional involvement and does not want children, having seen how his older brother broke their father’s heart before killing himself, and Julian’s beloved horse, by jumping a fence too high. Julian doesn’t expect to fall in love with his wife of convenience. He is a man of high principles and integrity, and has the charming knack of being able to relate to anyone, no matter their station in life. He is truly a gentleman.
EVA GREEN as ROXANNE CHESNEY
Roxanne Chesney is a young woman of gentle birth but due to her father’s inability to handle money, she has grown up knowing how to budget and make very short ends meet. She had wonderful qualities, and loves her father very much. He wants to see her safely married before he dies and so she accepts an offer from a conman posing as a distant cousin of her father. The shock of reality bites hard when she discovers the man’s true nature: a rapist and an abuser, and a serial bigamist. A lesser woman would have just crumbled under the onslaught, but not Roxanne. She has a core of steel, and her one ambition is to get to Bath to find her only living relative, her father’s sister. Her courage enables her to fight off her husband’s advances, escape, although wounded, but she gets away. Julian’s offer, which includes a substantial financial remuneration, is tempting, and against her better judgement she agrees, even though she would be breaking the law. But her integrity prevents her from continuing the charade when her dreadful husband reappears and threatens Julian and his sister. She has incredible strength, courage, and self-sacrifice.