A Scottish distiller, a businesswoman in Victorian London, an explosive attraction.
Kleypas' beloved Wallflower/Ravenels series crossover continues with the next generation of feisty descendants, this time Lord Marcus and Lady Lillian Westcliff’s widowed daughter. Drawn irresistibly to a client of her shipping company, Lady Merritt Sterling coaxes an equally smitten Keir MacRae to spend a night with her. While convinced that their unequal birth and upbringing make them ill-matched for a real relationship, Keir tells himself it’s a memory he can cherish forever. But disaster strikes soon after, allowing Kleypas to deploy the classic "nursing a hurt lover to recovery" trope, with a twist that turns Merritt and Keir's bond into a variation of the second-chance romance. As the search for the cause of the attack on Keir leads to questions about his birth, a favorite Wallflower character looms large, with plenty of clues (including the title) to tell the reader why our hero is mistaken about his lineage. The third act is slightly anticlimactic, with all the nonromance action having occurred in Act 1 and served as a plot device to bring the romance and other relationships into being in Act 2. While Kleypas takes no risks to push her oeuvre in new directions, the novel abounds in the vintage pleasures of her writing: finely drawn characters; a tactile, sensuous style in both the sex scenes and the landscape descriptions; banter that illustrates the emotional compatibility of romantic partners; dual points of view that show both the hero’s and the heroine’s interior lives; moving moments of familial ties; and glimpses of couples from other novels to assure us that love lasts forever.
Undemandingly pleasurable and guaranteed to go on the reread shelf.