She’s looking for a fortune—any fortune.
Kitty Talbot’s not like other fortune hunters of the ton. She was raised in Dorsetshire, far from the well-bred life of the season, and she has no interest in staying in town. She’s only in London because she has three months to snag a fortune, plus the man attached to it, so she and her four younger sisters can pay off her family’s debts and stay in their beloved home. She and her sister Cecily quickly get their feet on the first rung of the social ladder when they arrive, and Kitty employs some quick subterfuge to gain the interest of Archie de Lacy. He may not be the oldest son of his noble family, but he’s still good for “at least eight thousand a year,” and he nearly proposes to her—until his brother, Lord Radcliffe, comes home to put a stop to her conniving. At first she’s furious with Radcliffe, but they come to a mutual understanding, and he agrees to help her make a match with another high-born man who is debt-free and entitled to an allowance. Over several weeks, she and Cecily find their way into one society event after another, even snagging tickets to Almack’s Assembly Rooms, so Radcliffe and Kitty spend more time together as she tries to better understand the men she’s meeting. On the eve of a marriage proposal that could save her family, though, simultaneous family emergencies send Radcliffe off in pursuit of her sister and Kitty in pursuit of his brother, and the aftermath makes it difficult to deny what they have come to mean to each other. Irwin’s debut is charming, if a bit paint-by-numbers, recalling Georgette Heyer and other classics of the genre. In contrast to recent trends in historical romance, the hero and heroine don’t do much more than kiss on the page, and their romance develops quite late in the story; much of the plot focuses more on Kitty and Cecily’s introduction to the layers and intrigues of 1818 London. But it isn’t all Austen-esque; Kitty’s honesty about her aims, and Radcliffe’s acceptance of them, allows the story to suit modern sensibilities without sacrificing too much of the vintage feel.
A sweet Regency debut for contemporary fans of classic romance.