Annabelle Thorley has been left an orphan in London and now her alcoholic, abusive brother wants to marry her off to a rich, but deplorable, friend to keep his own affairs afloat. Having no one else to turn to, Annabelle asks Owen Locke, a kind gamekeeper who earlier protected her from a pickpocket, to help her escape her London home. She flees to Fellsworth, where an uncle she barely knows owns a school. Her new position there as a teacher is a far cry from the luxuries of a London belle, and she must learn to take care of herself, work hard, and be careful whom she trusts.
This book was a fun Regency romance, although not particularly memorable. Annabelle is a sympathetic heroine, and I particularly liked the exploration of the new relationship between her and her maid Crosley, once Crosley is no longer a servant. Owen Locke, the gamekeeper, was a stand-up hero, and the mystery about what happened to his first wife unfolded nicely in the plot. The antagonists were a little less well-rounded, some being almost caricatures in their outrageous villainy. All in all, this book was an enjoyable read and a good addition to Ladd’s canon of novels.
I received this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.