by Janice Bennett

April 1998
ISBN: 0-8217-5890-X
Reviewer Graphic Button Zebra Books
Mass Market Paperback

There was not one thing about this story that I didn’t enjoy. The characters, the heroine especially, were well created, the setting was perfectly described and easily pictured, and the sub plot, that of a mystery to be solved and a treasure to be found, was completely believable and written in such a way as to enhance the romance. In fact, the mystery played a very large part in the romance, and it was made very clear to the reader that the heroine was using the mystery to restore the hero’s passion for life.

Captain Anthony, Lord Lambeth, has just inherited the title that had passed from his father to his older brother. The latter had apparently been a wastrel who had badly used the property that comes with the title. Upon his brother’s death, Tony found himself the owner of a failing estate and in need of a way to restore his home to its former splendor.

Although marriage to an heiress would solve all of his problems, Tony is averse to selling himself or his title. A promise made on his best friend’s deathbed provides him with the added burden of caring for his former playmate, Calpurnia Rycroft.

Calpurnia has landed in dire straits. With her parents gone, and her brother recently passed, she has no funds to live on so she must work for a living. And for someone of Calpurnia’s temperament, governess and companion positions are hard to hold on to but were the only ways she has of supporting herself - at least, until Tony‘s proposal of marriage.

Callie agrees to become engaged to Tony. The solemn man he has become is so different from the devilish young man he’d been before going off to war that she wants to help him find some of his old spark. And that’s where the mystery comes in. A ghost is haunting Tony’s house, and though she’s been there for the past 100 years, she seems determined to enlist Callie’s help. Finding out what the ghost wants and then helping her get it, send the pair on a fun adventure complete with treasure hunt.

While solving a 100-year-old mystery, Tony’s zest for life revives and with it, his feelings for Callie bloom.

Besides Callie and Tony, there are other characters that make this story worth the read. Tony’s mother, cousin and sister-in-law are all characters that help bring this story to life. The secondary love story is so different from Callie and Tony’s that both stand out and draw you in.

What I found most enjoyable about this story was Calpurnia – she is an intelligent, insatiably curious young woman who rarely hesitates to speak her mind. She’s also kind, compassionate and honestly cares for other people and their feelings. That Tony doesn’t seek to change her in any way, shape or form and, in fact, encourages her intellect, curiosity and enthusiasm for life is what ultimately makes this story work.

Reviewed in March 2002 by JaToya.

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