After Sophie Talbot creates a scandal, she tries to escape aristocratic society by stowing away in the Marquess of Eversley’s carriage—but she winds up in even more trouble.
Since her father went from being a coal miner to a rich businessman to an earl, Sophie has become increasingly unhappy. Unlike her sisters, who take glee in creating scandal and flaunting the mores of Victorian society, Sophie hates feeling like an outsider and detests the hypocritical aristocracy. But when she goes too far, pushing her brother-in-law the Duke of Haven into a fish pond after she catches him in a compromising position at a garden party, she asks the rakish Marquess of Eversley, nicknamed King, to give her a ride back to Mayfair. When he denies her request, she pays one of his grooms for his livery and hitches a ride on the back of the carriage. But it turns out that the carriage isn't going to Mayfair; when it heads out of London, Sophie is stuck on the road with an angry King and no way home. Changing her plans, she asks King to deliver her to the small town where she spent her childhood, claiming a lost love is waiting for her. Skeptical but intrigued, King agrees, but nothing goes as planned for the antagonistic pair, who snipe at each other along the journey yet somehow turn to each other in times of trouble, even while a sense of pride keeps them from admitting their growing regard and attraction. When King finally takes Sophie back to his home in Cumbria, where he'd been headed all along to see his ailing father, a series of miscommunications drives the couple apart, risking their happy-ever-after. MacLean’s elegant writing, brisk storytelling, and clever dialogue are frosting on the cake of Sophie’s compelling romance, and they'll hook the reader into this new series about the risqué Talbot sisters, who must forge a path through a hostile social structure.
MacLean's latest shines with the intensity, wit, and emotion for which she's celebrated.