An Earl, the Girl, and a Toddler

Written by Vanessa Riley
Review by Ray Thompson

Jemina St. Maur and her infant daughter are the sole survivors of a shipwreck, but she suffers from complete amnesia, and her mixed-race child is not recognized as hers. The mother is sent to an insane asylum, the daughter given to Daniel Thackery, a mixed-race barrister, and an earl. Two years later, Jemina and Daniel fall in love, but her determination to learn the truth of her background proves to be an obstacle. Then she meets Hope, Daniel’s adopted daughter.

This is the second in the Rogues and Remarkable Women series, and the plot is rather convoluted, particularly at the outset when the backstory is unfolded. This creates some confusion, especially since part of the story is narrated by Jemina herself, and her state of mind is volatile. As the mysteries are gradually resolved, however, the plot becomes more involving, and the insights into the social context are illuminating. Since it deals with not only more common issues like aristocratic privilege and the vulnerability of women and children but also racial discrimination and the mistreatment of those confined in insane asylums, this is a darker tale than one usually encounters in Regency romance. Recommended.