Lenora Wilton accepts a position as music teacher at a girls’ school in Bath, where a difficult student and an unfortunate meeting with the girl’s guardian change her life—and her hopes for the future.
Painfully shy Lenora moves to Bath after her fiance breaks their engagement to marry her sister and she's left feeling she has no marital prospects. Spending her workdays as a music teacher and her weekends at the home of her beloved Aunt Gwen, Lenora often sneaks out to the river for midnight walks, which would be a scandal should anyone discover her. All goes well for two years, until Lenora meets Aiden Asher, guardian to his niece Catherine Manch, a bright but troubled girl who was neglected by her family and can’t read, since she suffers from what modern readers will recognize as dyslexia. Acting out, Catherine ultimately gets Lenora dismissed from her job, but Aiden and Gwen arrange for Lenora to give Catherine private lessons despite reservations on both sides. Aiden and Lenora become close, and Catherine begins to have faith that neither of them will abandon her. Lenora, however, feels betrayed by Asher, who told her he had feelings for her even though he was engaged to someone else. Asher, who had entered into a betrothal with a woman he doesn’t love in order to offer Catherine more stability, realizes they should share their lives with Lenora, but his fiancee won’t release him, and Lenora refuses to have him even if she does. Lives intertwined by circumstance are suddenly bound by love, and it will take courage to vanquish the fear, pride, and guilt that are blocking everyone’s happiness. Kilpack’s sequel to The Vicar’s Daughter (2017) is another quiet, character-driven romance that finds poignancy through complex conflicts while maintaining a more authentic tone and sensibility (including no sex) than many current historical romances.
A sweet, engaging, graceful romance.