If you like historicals with women doing men’s jobs better than they do it and unapologetically so, this might be the book for you.
Plot: Thomasina Thorne has been the Enderley Estate steward for two years, since the passing of her father (who was the steward all her life). The Duke had no interest in the property and was perfectly content to let the staff there sort out things for themselves, and the staff were happy enough with Mina taking over. But when that Duke dies, the new Duke and professional Sad Boy wants to dismantle everything to do with his title, including Enderley. When he arrives to inspect the property to determine what could be sold off and what could be leased, Mina is determined to show him she deserves to keep her job and that Enderley is worth keeping. Shenanigans ensue.
To be honest, there isn’t much to say about this book. The plot is fairly generic and the writing does not elevate it beyond the tropes. You have your wounded hero with a difficult childhood and obsession with financial gain (after all, the hero HAS to be rich, and it HAS to be by being a Super Capitalist) and a heroine who is smart and tough and cares for others but is super poor even though she doesn’t care about money. Caring about financial security is unappealing in women and mandatory in men, apparently. I could be describing a hundred books right now.
The conflict at the core of the book overstays its welcome because Mina isn’t particularly interested in why Nicholas can’t stand the place and he’s not particularly interested in why she is so determined to save it. A moment’s introspection or curiosity would have cut the length of the book in half. The external conflict adds little tension to the story and is dispatched with fairly easily. All the same, it’s an easy, quick, mostly inoffensive read (a horse is hurt), it just won’t really stay in your memory once you’re done. I think if you’ve been out of the reading game for a while and want to dip your toe back in without having to deal with the heavier subject matter that tends to come part and parcel with some of the pillars of the genre like Courtney Milan or Loretta Chase, this is a gentle way back in. Although I could probably also give you a Milan or Chase or Dare or Long that would do the same thing better. Still, sometimes you want handmade Belgian chocolate, and sometimes you want Nutella.