A poignant and brave Regency romance between a traumatized heiress struggling to forget her past and the only man who knows her oldest and darkest secret.
Practical and sharp, Leonie Charnock is dubbed one of three "Spinster Heiresses"—wealthy and beautiful women who have remained unmarried because their fathers are seeking titled husbands for their daughters to elevate their own social standing. As for Leonie, she has no desire to get married. She's still reeling from the unintended consequences of a botched elopement she attempted when she was 17. If Lt. Roman Gilchrist hadn't come to her rescue then, the incident would have left Leonie's reputation irreparably tarnished. Newly coined the Earl of Rochdale through a surprising stroke of serendipity, an impoverished Roman now desperately needs Leonie’s dowry to save the estate he has inherited. Since Roman staked his own career to save Leonie, he believes she owes him her sizable dowry and proposes marriage to her. Leonie accepts, hoping he will grant her freedom without making too many expectations. But her demons, and the pain of her past, come back to haunt the couple. Roman’s palpable angst sets off Leonie’s struggles with her trauma, and the couple’s travails will tug insistently at the heartstrings of romance readers. The first installment in Maxwell’s Spinster Heiresses series deftly establishes the personalities of the women who will form the backbone of the upcoming books. Given Leonie and Roman's history, the relatively swift development of the romance rings true, but the sex scenes between the couple strike a marginally discordant note because the duo’s personal troubles never seem to be adequately reflected in their intimate encounters.
Strains of pain and grief meld with notes of redemption and love, composing a tuneful and resonant love story.