A Gilded Age heiress returns home after her disastrous marriage just in time to save her family’s failing department store from the clutches of her first love, who’s become Manhattan’s premier retailer and has sworn to ruin her family yet still makes her heart pound.
Sixteen years ago, 20-year-old Beatrice Goodwin walked away from the boy she loved—“Wes Dalton, a mere associate department manager at Goodwin’s Emporium, the department store her family owned”—to marry an English duke, which turned out to be a disaster. When she returns, Goodwin’s is a pale shadow of its former glory, thanks to her brother’s mismanagement, while the store across the street, Dalton’s, is the reigning retail palace, a success fueled by her first love’s business sense and a desire for revenge against the family who made him feel less than. Beatrice maneuvers her brother out of the picture, then proceeds to turn Goodwin’s around, creating a destination store for women. Meanwhile, Dalton and Beatrice enter into a secretive “rivals by day, lovers by night” relationship. However, as their emotional and professional stakes rise, Beatrice’s success and moxie make her the target of a menacing enemy, threatening her and the store, and the couple must face what their true feelings are for each other. Rodale continues her Gilded Age Girls Club with another empowered heroine getting things done and the dashing hero who loves her exactly the way she is, though it takes him a while to realize it. The romance has texture and intensity, including a peek into Beatrice’s mother’s backstory that adds depth to the characters’ journeys, and the book’s generally lighthearted tone is tempered by historically accurate details reflective of the backlash aspiring women often faced.
An entertaining, thought-provoking addition to this captivating series.