The second in a Regency romance series, The Way to a Lord’s Heart, that features men who have experienced traumatic losses and the women who help them heal.
Daniel Frith, Viscount Whitfield, is suddenly faced with managing the family seat in Derbyshire when his aloof parents perish in a shipwreck. Upon learning that his father left a house to an unknown woman, he is determined to discover why. The mysterious inheritance came not a minute too soon for Penelope Pendleton, whose fortunes took a disastrous turn when her brother became embroiled in a political scandal that ended his life and left her penniless. Once a respected baronet’s daughter, she finds herself ruined, starting over in a new part of the country with few resources. Daniel’s initial wariness fades quickly in the face of Penelope’s beauty, resilience, and intelligence. As they partner to sort through his family’s disorganized records, their mutual attraction grows. Penelope helps Daniel explore his grief over losing parents he never really knew: “All my life I was treated like an acquaintance by those most closely related to me.” Ashford’s (Earl to the Rescue, 2018, etc.) crisp writing and attention to historical detail are impressive. Domestic activities of the early-19th-century English countryside, from goatherding to cake making, are humorously depicted. But the plot is glacially slow, requiring a two-dimensional character to show up and goose it along periodically, his only apparent reason for being in the novel at all.
A leisurely visit to the Regency England countryside in which two characters slowly—sometimes too slowly—uncover the family secret that binds them together.