In the Shadow of Croft Towers
Sybil Delaford, an impoverished orphan, takes a position at Croft Towers as a companion to the elderly Mrs. Chalcroft. While traveling to her new position, her coach is attacked by highwaymen. On her arrival at Croft Towers, however, Sybil recognizes Mrs. Chalcroft’s godson, Mr. Sinclair, as one of the highwayman. Confused and uncertain, she does not reveal his secret.
Mrs. Chalcroft seeks Sybil’s help delivering mysterious letters to people in the village. The handsome Lucius Cantrell, Mrs. Chalcroft’s nephew, flirts with Sybil, and everyone at the house seems to harbor some secret. A maid is murdered, and the case goes unsolved. Sybil meanwhile, seeks to unlock the mystery of her own parentage. A curious note and bracelet she received from a stranger seem somehow mysteriously related to the people at Croft Towers.
This sweet Regency romance has strong mystery and gothic elements. At times the dialogue and some of the thoughts of the heroine seemed jarringly modern to me, while the plot seemed full of happy coincidences and left a few things too easily explained for my taste. Still, readers who enjoy sweet romances, gothic settings, innocent heroines, and mysterious heroes should enjoy this read.