Adversity reveals a woman’s true character in this tender Regency from Walker (The Masked Baron). The belle of London Society, captivating Miranda Bartley, is shocked when Ethan Roderick abruptly breaks off their courtship, accusing her of being vain and caring more for “silly dresses and bonnets” than “the state of the country.” The breakup presages a downward spiral in Miranda’s life, as her family loses their fortune and she flees London in disgrace to take up a life of backbreaking servitude in the home of an estranged uncle. Ethan, meanwhile, tries to move on from vivacious Miranda with another, more suitable young woman. But six weeks later, Ethan’s chance encounter with a much changed Miranda prompts him to invite her back to his family’s country home as his guest, determined to help her despite the potential scandal it will cause his family. The predictable plot is offset by the grace and humility of the central characters and well-shaded supporting cast—especially elderly Lady Callister, whose cheeky impertinence hides a heart of gold. The result is a sweet, solid romance. (Mar.)
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