by Jo Ann Ferguson

January 2002
ISBN: 0-8217-7174-4
Reviewer Graphic Button Zebra Books
Mass Market Paperback

Angela Needham accepts a position preparing a Duke’s ward for her come-out - but her life soon becomes complicated. She finds the Duke cool and distant, as opposed to his neighbour Justin, Lord Harrington, who is warm, friendly and dangerously attractive. There are more than just personality differences between the two men, however – they also harbour deep hatred for one another.

This is a different type of love story. I fully expected that Angela would fall for the Duke and not Justin, but I’m not spoiling the story for anyone - from the beginning it is clear which man makes her heart beat faster.

Angela’s job is to refine Leonia, one of the Duke’s ward, but she finds herself embroiled with Leonia’s siblings as well. They are a merry bunch - little Seth is a bundle of mischief, Esther is boisterous and a chatterbox while Thomas is determined to keep his friendship with Justin, much to the Duke’s dismay.

Justin has a daughter who is deaf. She is a year younger than Esther, and while Angela thinks it will be good for Delicia to be friendly with Esther, Justin is very protective of his daughter and is afraid of her being hurt.

Angela is a practical woman but finds herself unexpectedly falling in love and discovers this can be painful as well as joyous. But before she can find happiness, she has to discover why the Duke and Justin hate each other and find a way of reconciling them, for somehow her future depends on it.

This story is written with sensitivity and handled well by the author – Jo Ann Ferguson tells a good story! I found myself following the plot with eagerness to see the children happily settled with the Duke, who took them on after their father died and finds it hard to relate to them. While the story is chiefly Angela and Justin’s love story, the other characters are far from secondary as they are very central to the plot.

I enjoyed this book and can happily recommend it to Regency lovers and indeed to all historical romance fans.

Reviewed in March 2002 by Mary.

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