The latest in the author’s connected series of Regency historical romances offers a credible romance between a pair of likeable but damaged protagonists—one physically, the other emotionally. Lord Valentine Wyndham is a gifted pianist and manufacturer of instruments whose musical career is curtailed by an immobility in one hand. On winning a country property in a card game, he departs London. He’s already slightly acquainted with his country tenant, with whom he shared a passionate kiss a year earlier. Concealing his aristocratic origins and his musical talents, he begins to renovate his house.
Ellen FitzEngle lives a solitary but useful life, growing herbs and selling her concoctions to the locals, and is still haunted by her frequent miscarriages and her husband’s death. As Ellen treats Valentine’s wasting hand with her healing herbs, their attraction blossoms into passion, but the nephew who gambled away the estate is a threatening presence.
Though the dialogue is lively, the suspense plot falls flat and the romantic resolution is weak. An intrusive parade of very talkative characters from prior novels detracts from the romance. American food habits and architectural references crop up. But despite these inconsistencies, the most avid Regency historical fans will be entertained.