Mia Castellano has been sent from London to her guardian’s home in the country after her engagement was called off. Mia was the one to call it off but as she had been caught by her fiancée and her guardian, Elena’s brother-in-law, David, she really had no choice. Now, she was being escorted by Lord David Pennistan and her maid who is also her half-sister, Janina.
Lord David doesn’t know what to do with Mia. She looks at everything as an adventure. He finds his best bet is to ignore her but she doesn’t make it easy. Yet, she’s under his protection until they arrive at his family’s home in Derbyshire. Surely he can put up with her for a few days!
When illness strikes the traveling party, Lord David finds himself quarantined with Mia and a couple of servants. He quickly learns that while Mia is beautiful, she is more than just her looks. Unfortunately, some of Mia’s ideas, like living alone and holding musicales, are a bit outrageous as is her belief that courtesans have a better life than a girl in the ton. When Mia tries her tricks on David, he’s torn between his honor and his desires.
This is the fourth book from Ms Blayney concerning the Pennistan family. You do not need to read the first three books to enjoy this one but it is extremely nice if you have read them to catch up on all the characters.
Once again Ms Blayney’s characters come alive. While Mia’s antics may drive poor David crazy, they only had me smiling and enjoying them. Her naïveté is charming and so natural. David’s reactions are wonderful. Both have a depth making them real as well as interesting.
The situations were perfect. An unknown illness would be extremely scary. Being found kissing a man that you were not married to or engaged to would be socially damning. Ending up in a house known for sexual meetings was enlightening. Social rules were strict and clear. Mia seldom complied with any of them.
Social change was introduced in a manner that eased into the story but didn’t take it over. David wants to build a cotton factory. This was considered risky in 1819 as this concept was fairly new. He also wanted to take care of those veterans of the Napoleonic War, their widows and children by offering them jobs and housing. To run this factory, David was looking into steam engines. It’s the beginning of the industrial revolution and David wants to be right in the middle of it, if he can find the funding!
Once again, I can’t praise this book enough. I hated to be interrupted while reading it. I was so caught up in Mia’s schemes and David’s dreams that they became mine. The ups and downs of their relationship became intriguing. Where it was going was unknown as Mia won’t marry without love and David was never going to love anyone.
I’m highly impressed with the skill that is used to take diverse characters, have them fall in love while intertwining the story with a perfect rendition of Regency England. There’s one more Pennistan sibling needing to find their perfect mate so thankfully there will be another wonderful story coming.