Rather than sit on the sidelines of life as most proper Regency ladies are expected to do, Marina found herself falling in love by way of a small packet of food slipped to her in church each week. Then, soon came notes, and small dalliances, and then a love affair that has left her pregnant and unmarried, her lover gone abroad to fight in a war. She arrives in London society and soon becomes the ‘toast of it,’ but all the time pines for her lost love… until she believes him untrue, that he has used her, and intends to cast her off. Then she reveals her unscrupulous side. As she tells Persephone, she must do what she can to survive, even if it causes her friend inconvenience. In love and war, or in her case, love and survival, she will throw another girl’s heart under the carriage every time, just to secure her a respectable position in society. She has been naïve in believing her lover will come back for her, and that he meant everything he wrote to her in those love letters. She let her emotions rule her head, but when she needs a husband to cover up her pregnancy, she will do whatever it takes to ensure her own survival. She intends to seduce Colin, make him think he is the father, and then benefit from their rush to the altar. It never occurs to her to be honest with him, something that backfires when the truth comes out in a scandal sheet and breaks his heart. Colin admits to her that if she had told him the truth, instead of looking for a way to leverage the situation to her advantage, he would have married her, “because that is just how in love I assumed myself to be!” Marina had no great success with men prior to this, because if she did not like them, she didn’t bother to be nice to them. She insulted them to their face and told them off (“I wasn’t speaking to you!” “I don’t want you here!”) Her problem lies in not thinking things through and needing others to point out her plight to her, in making desperate attempts to rid herself of the child (and assuming she has succeeded without any real proof), and not realizing the depth of Penelope’s feelings.

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There are two sides to Marina. The idealist who wants to believe in love and who is “sure” her lover will return to her when her situation is made plain to him, and the ruthless schemer who decides sacrificing the happiness of another is worth it to ensure she can live the kind of lifestyle she intends to maintain and retain all the freedoms a society marriage can grant her. Marina can live with herself by justifying that her needs supplant those of a girl who can always fall in love with some other boy, when it’s her turn to be in society. She charms people and appeals to their better nature, while continually ignoring the problems she is causing herself and others, re-framing them (by being in love, or having “needs”), and eventually, coming to admit them to herself. She can be quite forceful in getting rid of suitors who do not appeal to her, through “sheer  rudeness.” But life teaches her things. Marina is, by the end of the series, willing to admit to the mistakes she has made.