This novel opens in 1905 with Helena Standish embarking on her London coming-out season. Oliver Faraday, who Helena meets at a Grosvenor House ball, appears to Jacob Standish as the ideal candidate to marry his beautiful and wealthy daughter. Oliver’s wealth, gentlemanly behaviour and political connections all seem to make him the ideal partner for her. To complicate matters, Helena has another less eligible, but more appealing admirer in the shape of the impoverished fledgling doctor Nicolas Carstairs, who is unable to forget her even after he witnesses her marrying Oliver. True to the ChocLit brand, this is a romantic bagatelle of a novel. The characters are all well-drawn, and Cora, a whore with ambition, is particularly appealing.
The author has cleverly given Oliver an unusual obsession, which gradually becomes more dangerous as the plot unfolds. Although you are reading this review in August, this is a novel to enjoy on a grey winter’s day sitting in front of a cosy fire and with a box of chocolates close by.