An amateur horticulturalist from Lincolnshire travels to London to show off her hybrid roses—and to visit a handsome doctor who has been writing her letters.
Margaret Babcock is too tall, too timid, and too uncouth to be comfortable in polite society. She much prefers to spend her time mixing fertilizers in her greenhouse. But when Dr. Rhys Gray, her father’s physician, arranges for her to present her work to gentlemen from the Horticultural Society of London, Margaret decides to take his dare. She is positive that her youthful crush on Rhys is completely gone and that now they are nothing more than academic correspondents and good friends. But in London, Rhys is the only person who makes her feel completely comfortable being herself. Margaret is shocked to discover that Rhys is all but engaged to Sylvia Morton. His family hopes the marriage will wipe away the bad blood between the two families and allow his exiled father and brother to return from the Continent. But while Sylvia is pretty and agreeable, Rhys realizes he's most content when he’s with Margaret. Although Rhys finds his family foolish and frustrating, he’s essentially passive, allowing his mother and his strong-tempered siblings to interfere in his life. Margaret, too, tends to be passive, letting Sylvia drag her to parties when she’d rather be at home, forcing manure through a strainer to feed her roses. In the third installment of her Winner Takes All series, Noble (The Lie and the Lady, 2015, etc.) has written a thrilling and absorbing tale about two people who find so much safety in each other that they’re able to take the biggest risk of their lives.
Not to be missed.