Another of Ashfield's period romances, here set in an English village in the early-19th century, in which the heroine is trounced by misfortune and mean people again and again, rebounds, and snags a titled spouse. Garnet Bradley, the only brainy one in a large, motherless, poor and nitwit family, escapes the dreariness when nice old toy-maker Zachariah Speke takes her on in his shop and teaches her the business. Meanwhile, in the local seat of the Marquis of Wynston, marriages are being arranged for the Marquis' young sons, Roderick and Adam, and his friend Sir Lambert's two daughters. It is hoped that elder son Roderick will marry Frances, while Teresa is slated to marry the son of a social-climbing sailor to whom Sir L. owes a debt. As adults, Roderick and Frances do marry--although Roderick and that lass-below-his-station Garnet have been zonked by passion. It's love at first sight: ""The sight of him sent shock waves through her."" As for Roderick, ""it was the most important moment of his life."" The two became lovers, but nasty Frances moves in to start village scandal churning, and she even hires thugs to wreck the shop. And Garnet is preggers. But even though nice baker's son Bill offers marriage and fatherhood for baby Celia, Garnet carries the torch. Oh, yes, Adam and Teresa are in love, and Teresa hates her gross fiancâ€š. Sir Lambert will see the light eventually, but how to eradicate Frances? Trust Ashfield to accomplish this in a paragraph. Bang. Simple and shallow, but soothing for fans of the genre.