Thomas Fitzcharles, the Duke of Castleton, is everything that is proper and dignified. The Dukes of Castleton tend to marry wealthy ladies of impeccable pedigree to enhance their holdings and fortune with each new generation. Thomas’ father was an exception, marrying for love, and it’s clear to Thomas that their marriage was not a success. As such, he is determined to win the hand of the eminently proper and extremely wealthy Miss Anne Brotherton, who thanks to being her grandfather, the Earl of Camber’s sole heir, is the best catch of the season. He’s surprised when he discovers that the demure Miss Brotherton is currently residing with her cousin, Mrs. Caroline “Caro” Townsend, possibly the least proper woman Castleton has ever met.
Having been raised nearly in isolation on her grandfather’s estate, and until recently meant to marry a cousin who died, Miss Brotherton delights in being able to trick her fusty old guardians and escape to her cousin Caro’s house in London. Caro, who fell madly in love with the reckless Robert Townsend at 17 and eloped with him, was disowned by the family as a result. Her marriage to Townsend was tumultuous and before he died, her husband had gambled away not only his fortune, but left his young widow in considerable debt. It doesn’t mean that Caro has stopped supporting local artists, throwing lavish parties and generally trying to shock and scandalise the members of the Ton. Anne loves spending time with the colourful and different people she meets at Caro’s, even though none of them seem to understand her passion for archaeology and ancient history. When Castleton arrives on their doorstep, to press his suit, Anne accepts that he will probably be exactly the sort of person her guardians want her to marry, but he doesn’t really seem to have eyes for her whenever Caro is near. Could it be that “Lord Stuffy” (a nickname given to Castleton by Caro) is more driven by his emotions than he previously thought?
This is my first Miranda Neville novel. I can’t say I’m a huge fan of the cover, but let’s face it, it’s actually the exception rather than the rule if I actually like a historical romance cover these days. There was a lot to like about her writing. More on my blog.