The biggest thing to go on in the small village of Throckbridge was the Valentine’s Day assembly. Everyone who was old enough would be there. There was no way to foresee that this would be over shadowed by the arrival of Viscount Lyngate aka Elliot Wallace. What in the world was he doing in their quaint and quite off the road village? In Regency England, members of the ton just didn’t visit out of the way places without a purpose.
Elliot Wallace truly did not want to visit Throckbridge and he really didn’t want to attend the village assembly but due to circumstances he didn’t have any choice but to do both. He needed to be in Throckbridge to locate the heir and new Earl of Merton. However, by attending the assembly, Elliot might be able to meet the new Earl and his 3 sisters before they learn of the news that will change their lives.
The Huxtables knew that they had good bloodlines but their father had been the local vicar. After his death, the family moved out of the parsonage and into a smallish house within the village that they had grown up in. The oldest sister had taken over the responsibilities of raising her younger siblings and had hoarded enough money to send the youngest and only boy to university once he was old enough. Meg, the oldest, Kate, the youngest girl and Stephen were extremely good looking while Nessie was considered plain. Strangely, it was Nessie who had married the local baron’s youngest son though she was now a widow. For some unknown reason, Nessie was the only one Elliot danced with at the assembly.
The Huxtable’s lives did change quickly after learning of Stephen’s inheritance. Not only did they move from Throckbridge to a large manor house, learn how to enter polite society but they find a cousin that they never knew they had. Con is the oldest son of the last Earl of Merton and his wife but was born two days prior to their marriage making him ineligible to inherit. While Con and Elliot grew up together and were the best of friends, they now are at odds with neither letting the Huxtables know why.
This was a very entertaining historical romance novel. The characters seemed to come to life with their actions and reactions. As new comers to the London season, their impressions made the reader able to visualize the scenes. The maneuvering each character does to get what they want, many times without another knowing what is going on, is done within the social restrictions that they lived by but sometimes stretched the rules. Con knows that escorting Elliot’s former mistress to Elliot’s younger sister’s coming out ball is just not done even though the lady in question is a member of the ton. So, why does he do it?
The characters have well developed personalities and quirks. Con is a likeable fellow but sometimes he does things that just aren’t quite right. Meg loves her family before herself but does that mean she can’t have happiness and marriage. Not if her sisters and brother have anything to say about it! Nessie loved her first husband so why is it that she reacts around and with Elliot? Each character is an individual person who interacts well with other characters.
The situations in the book are believable and could have happened. This believability keeps the reader wanting to know what next. Even though this book ended, that longing doesn’t seem to be satisfied. Thankfully, more books about this charming family are being published so you can find out if Meg finally does agree to marry, Kate finds her true love, Nessie resolves her issues concerning her first husband and Stephen grows into his new role in society. Hopefully, we will also find out more about Con and if he’s really the scoundrel that Elliot thinks he is.
When Elliot Wallace, Viscount Lyngate, arrives in Throckbridge, the small village is buzzing with excitement over the upcoming Valentine's Day dance. The ladies of the town are busy gussying up for the ball and gossiping about the viscount's mysterious arrival, but Elliot has more urgent matters to attend to. His arrival marks a mission to retrieve the rightful Earl of Merton, while his promise he has made to find a wife by Christmas weighs heavily on his mind.
When Elliot meets the new young earl, Stephen Huxtable, and his three sisters, the disagreeable Margaret, the cheery Katherine, and the plain, widowed Vanessa, he becomes absorbed in the family's life. Could it be possible that with the Huxtables he's found both an Earl and wife? If Elliot thinks he's hit two birds with one stone, to which sister will he cast his throw...and will she catch the bait before she discovers his ulterior motives?