So begins an intoxicating tale rife with dark secrets, deception, and the trials of love - a story in which very little is as it seems.
Ms Balogh is one of my favourite writers. Lately I have enjoyed some of her books more than others and while I was curious about this one it was only when a friend mentioned having loved it that I decided to pick it up.
At first glance the story deals with one of the regency romance genre favourite themes, the marriage of convenience. And in this case a marriage of convenience between two people with different status, Annabelle is an Earl's daughter and Reginald the son of a man who made is fortune with coal mines. That alone would be enough to keep them apart forever but when Annabelle's reputation is ruined and her father desperately needs money there's no other alternative than accept the alliance.
The story happens in just a few days. from the proposal to their wedding day. During that period Annabelle and Reginald seem to get to know each other and learn to deal with each other while at the same we are treated to flashbacks of their past through the years. I'm not very fond of flashbacks and that is in fact my main complaint, when there are many I start getting distracted and want to get back to the main action.
There's no big drama in this story and everything seems to go on smoothly but Ms Balogh reserves us a final surprise. I thought that was a clever one, I don't think I've read a similar plot device before, but maybe it would have worked better as a short story (and with fewer flashbacks).
Readers should be ware that this is a novella not a full lenght although it is being marketed as a hardcover which may lead to some confusion. I'm planning on getting the author's next book in the Huxtable series and I sure hope she manages to surprise me like she did here.