Did you know that horses shed? I didn't. And clippers are responsible for the magic transition from shaggy winter coats to sleek, summer short-hair. Had no clue. Things that make you go "huh".
Anyway, on to the book review . . .
Mariah's past mistakes have cost her everything--her family, her reputation, her chance for love and marriage. Banished to a gatehouse on her aunt's estate, Mariah prepares for a spinster's life with her companion, Dixon.
This Regency was a pleasant surprise. Instead of another relational-focused romance destined to lose me before halfway through, I discovered a brave and compelling heroine who knows the struggle of building a life after devastating choices, a heroine who also loves to write novels, dreams of publication, but shrinks at the prospect of the public discovering her identity. The gatehouse she makes her home in is two-storied with castle turrets--it captured my imagination, and made me want to live in an old gatehouse myself!
I have a particular interest in the maritime culture of the eighteenth and nineteenth century (meaning I love pirates), and the hero's background as a naval war hero definitely earned him points. Which he needed. He was enamored with a another young lady for most of the story . . . I guess Mariah was a bit distracted too, but his came in loud and clear (think Austen's Persuasion, not my favorite of hers). I don't know, but to me, the hero's bumbling responses to his growing attraction and feelings toward Mariah made him seem a bit careless with her. My friends have loved and raved about this book, so other readers may not get the same vibe from the hero's emotional tug-of-war, which is well-written.
A subtle mystery helps keep interest alive, and the subplots align beautifully. I appreciated the way a neighboring poorhouse stood as a reminder of what awaited Mariah, should she fail in her career endeavors, and that it also played a role in the mystery's resolution. (Sorry, my plot nerd is showing.) Fans of Jane Austen works and Regency Fiction are sure to enjoy this one--fans of Persuasion, in particular--as well as those who like Historical Romance.