The London-based Wynchesters, a blended family of varied talents and diverse abilities, are the self-appointed guardians of the downtrodden. But when circus-trained Graham Wynchester, their dedicated head, scales buildings to rescue the foreign princess he believes is in danger, he finds Kunigunde de Heusch is more than capable of taking care of herself. A companion to the Princess of Balcovia, Kuni has trained all her life to become a Royal Guardswoman. She won’t sacrifice that goal no matter how much she enjoys helping the rambunctious Wynchesters wreak vengeance on an exploitative mill owner, or how attracted she is to Graham. They can enjoy a delicious fling, but Kuni’s future and Graham’s obligations await.
Ridley daubs standard Regency Britain with imaginative redemptive touches, much like how the characters “liberate” an antbear (or aardvark) from the Tower Zoo. Balcovia was founded on abolition, so Kuni is an independent, ambitious, highly trained Black woman determined to break barriers for girls—the heroine a too-often-pallid genre badly needs. Neurodivergence and disabilities are handled with cheerful respect. Swift pacing, sleek prose, lively characters, and much humor make for a fun, flirtatious romp that weaves fantasy and joy into a book with real heart.