An American “dollar princess” seeks refuge on a long-lost duke’s country estate after having been rejected on the marriage mart only to find him alive and well.
Sarah Bumgarten, the youngest daughter of a prominent Nevada mining family, is expected to follow in her sisters’ footsteps and find a husband among England’s aristocracy. After enduring an earl’s very public rejection, Sarah retreats to the vacant, neglected country estate of Arthur Graham, the Duke of Meridian, her sister’s brother-in-law. Finding Betancourt in disrepair, spunky Sarah, surrounded by a bevy of beloved animals, puts her formidable skills to work refurbishing it. Her temporary refuge eventually becomes the home she has always dreamed of, until the duke’s shocking return. Six years prior, Arthur, was a shy naturalist who allowed his greedy uncle to run Betancourt. He had been awakened to both the possibility of love and to his ducal responsibilities by Sarah’s older sister, Daisy, only to find his hopes dashed when his younger brother stole her away. He had fled England for far-off lands, enduring a series of misadventures, which changed him completely. Now “he had come home to find [Daisy's] younger sister—the very image of Bumgarten energy and vitality—had taken up residence in the heart of his lost inheritance.” Sarah and Arthur work together to shield Betancourt from his greedy relatives and other enemies, getting to know and admire one another in the process. Arthur’s elaborate adventures off the page strain credulity, and too many subplots and too little character development hamper the effectiveness of the romance, but Krahn’s prodigious talent still draws the reader in.
A busy historical with lots of action to sustain an otherwise tame romance.