A Touch of Scarlet

Written by Renee Ryan

In New York City in 1901, Elizabeth St. James is the perfect upper-class daughter: lovely, obedient, faultless. To please her father and grandfather, she’s headed to England to trade her family’s money for a titled husband. But Elizabeth isn’t as flawless as she seems, nor as willing to marry a title. She desires, however briefly, a life of adventure and passion. She makes a list of actions to achieve this before she sails, and to accomplish such items as “kiss a man under the moon and stars,” she seeks help from her childhood friend, Lucian Griffin. However, Luke is appalled and plans to prevent Elizabeth from ruining her reputation, even if he has to help her accomplish the items on her list.

Unfortunately, while the setting is Gilded Age New York City, there’s little to give a real sense of time and place. Descriptions are vague, of the “elegant ball gown” type, and the story could really have taken place almost anywhere. Although Elizabeth is very devout, and New York City has some very fine old churches, she never attends church, which I found disappointing. For fans of Downton Abbey and turn-of-the-century romances who want a simple romance.