A woman asked to look into irregularities at a duke’s bank finds evidence of theft—and an unexpected love.
When Wrexham, Duke of Elsmore, asks the Duke of Walden for help in reviewing his personal finances and the ledgers of the bank he owns, Walden introduces him to Eleanora Hatfield, his auditor. Eleanora is a scrupulously honest woman who has escaped a family legacy of criminal activity by using her math skills and has acquired a fearsome reputation for accounting accuracy. While wary of the aristocracy, she agrees to help the genial duke find errors (or embezzlement) at his venerable institution. The discretion necessary for the task leads them to solitary tête-à-têtes, and as Wrexham’s fundamental kindness teaches the wary Eleanora to trust him, she trains him to acquire a sharper eye toward the practices of his employees and family members. As in When a Duchess Says I Do (2019), Burrowes relates the romances of acquaintances of the Walden family, whose head was the protagonist of her first Rogues to Riches novel, My One and Only Duke (2018). Though not quite rising to the charm of that story, this tale of love is appealing because of the unusual backdrop of banking fraud in 19th-century Britain. Scenes of the disparity between the upper class and the struggling classes serve as a reminder of the unfair economic and justice systems that undergird this society. These systems also act as the barrier Wrexham must overcome if he is to persuade Eleanora that they can marry. Both protagonists are finely etched, as are a few supporting characters who are likely to get their own romances in the future.
A moderately paced, satisfying tale of an accountant who saves an aristocrat from financial ruin while unwittingly winning his heart.