By: Christi Caldwell
An impoverished family in Surrey is braving a season in London, courtesy of the devious Aunt Agatha. Their survival depends upon Hermoine making a monetarially (I have just made this a real word) advantageous match. The small tippence she earns as a gothic novelist, under the nom de plum Michael Michaelmas (yes really) will not support her family: a worthless father held up in his library, the growing twins and her sister Elizabeth who suffered brain malady from fever that left her a virtual child, and she was raped and is now with child herself. To Hermoine, this is a research trip to learn the inner workings of a dark, brooding duke for her next novel 'The Nefarious Duke". Instead, she meets the light, charming Duke of Mallen. Sebastian is the opposite of what her publisher has instructed her to write about, so she writes about him. Who is this girl who writes on her dance card? He has to know-she's captivated him, even in the hideous bright yellow dress.
Through a series of chance meetings they build their relationship, he just has to kiss her. But she has deadlines with her publisher and with news of her family and identity are known. It all falls apart when Aunt Agatha orchestrates discovering the couple in a very compromising position. The obligatory marriage occurs. What follows is a period of individual/seperate growth and discovery that eventually leads to enlightenment and love.
This is a compelling storyline that brings on many emotions, to feel the highs and lows. Christi Caldwell is master storyteller. Her character development and physical descriptions are impeccable (as usual). This is the another great series by one of our favourite authors.