Catherine Winthrop’s father has died, leaving an unexpected trail of debts and disgrace. To make matters worse, the estate has been entailed to Catherine’s third cousin, a gentleman in trade named Jonathan Carlew who, two years prior, wooed and then crushed Catherine’s heart. As Catherine deals with a querulous mother, a dilapidated dower house, and the death of all her dreams, she must come to terms with the fact that joy is not created by our circumstances but by our faith.
Two years ago, Jonathan Carlew abandoned England for India to get over his broken heart. But now that he’s back in the country as the newly minted Lord Winthrop, circumstances won’t stop throwing him in the path of the lady who spurned him. When trouble strikes close to home, he begins to understand Catherine’s true merits. But can true love be reforged after it has been shattered by misunderstanding?
The first book of the series, this novel was an emotional roller coaster. The difficulty of Catherine’s plight cuts deeper with every chapter as her Mrs. Bennet-esque mother shows just how awful it is to be ousted from one’s home by an entail. Both the hero and the heroine were admirable and likable, making the circumstances that kept them apart all the more tragic. Jonathan’s steadfast and upright character is admirable, and it is delightful to see how he allows Catherine’s good sense to temper his severity. This series continues with Miss Serena’s Secret and The Making of Mrs. Hale, both excellent regencies in their own right. Recommended.