Ostracized from polite society after her father’s suicide, Miss Sylvia Stafford takes up a position as a governess for a tradesman’s family, overcoming her misery with diligent industry. But when an aristocratic lady comes knocking, Sylvia agrees to go visit the lady’s brother–the man who rejected her three years ago.
Scarred from a saber cut during his time in India, Sebastian Conrad, the Earl of Radcliffe, lives a reclusive life at his family estate. But when his meddling sister insists on bringing the woman who jilted him to visit, Sebastian lashes out in rage. Clearly, Miss Stafford only has an eye for his title and wealth, for who could possibly enjoy the disfigured beast he has become?
As the book description indicates, this Gothic Regency channels the fairy tale of Beauty and the Beast. There is even a pivotal scene which takes place in a library with bookshelves so tall that Belle would have been impressed. Both the hero and the heroine were sympathetic characters, although it was a little difficult to peg Miss Stafford as either flighty or sensible. One thing I could have done without was the misunderstanding between the hero and heroine at the end which prolonged the story in an exceedingly farfetched manner, but overall, this was an enjoyable read.