A vain young woman in the Regency era gets her comeuppance when a mysterious affliction causes her to lose all her hair halfway through her first London season.
Kilpack (Wedding Cake, 2014, etc.) makes her historical romance debut with her first contribution to Shadow Mountain’s PG-rated Proper Romance series. Debutante Amber Sterlington does not lack for admirers. She's eager to parlay her beauty and sophistication into a dynastic marriage to make her parents proud and perhaps gain a few crumbs of their love and attention. She cares little that she’s stealing the limelight from her sister Darra and thinks love is an unnecessary complication on the Marriage Mart. But her machinations are cut short when a mysterious ailment, which may be familiar to modern readers as alopecia areata, causes her to lose almost all of her hair. Her family banishes her to a rustic corner of Yorkshire, with only her good-hearted and tart-tongued maid, Suzanne Miller, to attend her. The two become friends despite their class differences and learn to fend for themselves—baking, cleaning and even tending to livestock on their little homestead three miles from the nearest village. Amber learns humility and kindness and ultimately manages to earn the respect of the Honorable Thomas Richards. Thomas is an earnest younger son of a baron who pined after Amber in London even though he didn’t like her personality and is amazed to discover her living in seclusion near his family home in Yorkshire. In spite of the heroine and the hero both being totally unlikable at the beginning of the book, the unusually well-crafted prose draws the reader along, and Amber’s personal evolution makes the book more literary than other romances.
Readers of this gentle story won’t miss the steamy scenes it lacks. A very compelling read.