When a young woman inherits a ramshackle cottage from her spinster aunt, she’s determined to use the house as her aunt did—to avoid an unhappy marriage.
McQuiston (Diary of an Accidental Wallflower, 2015, etc.) returns with the second book in her Seduction Diaries series. Lucy Westmore is dreading her upcoming season on the London marriage mart. She views the custom as “an archaic process” that sells “young women of good breeding to the highest bidder,” and she wants none of it. So when she receives a mysterious package from her recently deceased aunt, she’s delighted to find the key to her aunt’s cottage inside, along with a note explaining that Lucy is the new owner and a collection of her aunt's diaries. But Thomas, the Marquess of Branston, is already in talks with her father to buy the property without Lucy’s consent. Lucy is determined to find out why Thomas wants it so much, since it’s falling down and located in a remote corner of Cornwall. When she dashes off to Cornwall to investigate, she falls in love with the little town of Lizard Bay—and with Thomas, whom she still can’t bring herself to trust. Meanwhile, ghosts in Thomas’ past mean he can’t tolerate London, which makes a future for the couple nearly impossible. Lucy herself finds the odd little community of Lizard Bay so welcoming that she thinks of never leaving, although her love for her family in London is calling her back. Lucy’s feminist tendencies are refreshing, if somewhat surprising, given the Victorian ideas held by her parents. Thomas is a complicated and likable character, and the book has multiple threads of mystery that are not easily solved by the reader.
An absorbing read.