Miles Linwood and Elise Furlong were childhood best friends. Growing up on neighboring estates, in comfortable luxury, they spent many treasured and halcyon days together and became inseparable. Then one day Elise suddenly disappeared. Miles searched everywhere for her but she simply could not be found, or perhaps did not wish to be. It was as though she no longer existed! Some years later Miles returns to England from the West Indies upon learning he has inherited a distant cousin’s title and fortune. En route to the estate with his sister and brother-in-law, they stop in a small village for repairs to the carriage. Here Miles stumbles across a young woman who looks exactly like Elise, but when he tries to make contact with her he discovers she is a very different person from the one he had known. What has happened in those intervening years, and why is Elise so afraid to give up her secret?
This is as much a mystery as a traditional “clean” Regency romance. The plot is well developed, the characters are people to care about, and their foibles and flaws are things easy to relate to. Care is taken with mannerisms, dialogue, and costume as befits the period, in a time of fastidious English class-consciousness. The mystery is not immediately obvious, which is a pleasant change in this genre. Jane Austen would, no doubt, tip her bonnet to this master of Regency romance, and fans of Sarah Eden will not be disappointed.