Xpress Reviews: Fiction | First Look at New Books, July 12, 2013

Louisa Stratton needs a husband—and fast. She is returning home to Rosemont after a yearlong sojourn across Europe with her maid, having written to her taciturn Aunt Grace that she had met and married Mr. Maximillian Norwich in Paris. Who can live up to the perfection of the nonexistent Max? Louisa is forced to hire Capt. Charles Cooper to impersonate her incomparable spouse through the 1903 Christmas season. Charles can use the very generous fee now that he has fallen on hard times and an overabundance of gin after a tour in Africa during the Boer War. Saddled with guilt, nightmares, and the loss of sight in one eye, Charles takes the voluble Miss Stratton at her word that she just needs his public face to put off her less than supportive family before she can flee once more. Then life at Rosemont goes from odd to downright dangerous—and decidedly seductive.

Verdict Robinson’s (Captain Durant’s Countess) “poor little rich girl” who never felt cared about as a child and even less so as an adult finds acceptance and love with a former soldier more damaged than she is. These characters are delightful and dotty and acerbic in the best possible way. This reviewer was in thrall from page one. Highly recommended for all romance readers.—Bette-Lee Fox, Library Journal