An actress who has carefully chosen the rules she can break in Regency-era England finds herself painfully conflicted when she rediscovers her ex-lover, now an aspiring architect with his heart set on building bridges.
Brandon Balfour has studiously avoided matrimony. His singleness has ensured continued membership in the Logical Men’s Society, a group for unmarried scientific-minded men instituted by the grandfather of the current Earl of Marsden. While the matrons of the village of Maidenshop would like nothing better than to see him—and his two eligible young friends—comfortably wedded, Brandon has other concerns: Not only is he haunted by his romantic past with the indomitable Kate Addison, he is also hoping to secure the future of his ward, the Duke of Winderton. But ancient history returns to create drama in the present when he learns that Winderton believes himself in love with Kate, whose traveling theater group has halted at their village. Brandon crashes back into her life, but Kate is determined that he will not shatter her heart again. Since she suffered disastrous consequences after her tryst with Brandon 15 years ago, Kate feels used and betrayed. She is determined to prove that she can stand her ground and won’t give the architect an inch. The first installment in Maxwell’s A Logical Man’s Guide to Dangerous Women series is deliciously sweet when it dwells on the protagonists’ interactions with secondary characters but insipid when the couple get together to trade barbs and memories. Brandon’s struggle with the difficulty of building a solid foundation for his life inspires empathy, but the enormity of Kate’s trauma gets obscured by drama. A fiercely ambitious woman who has braved several odds to gain financial independence, Kate is a beautifully crafted character whose story deserved more sensitivity and nuance. However, the scenes involving the villagers of Maidenshop sparkle with wit and insight, illuminating several human foibles and desires.
A fairly straightforward romance set in a quaintly charming world.