When a man whispers that he’ll give you everything and the moon, should you take him seriously? Okay, silly question! But at the beginning of this novel, a very young Robert, Earl of Macclesfield, promises that very thing to an equally young Victoria Lyndon, daughter of the Vicar of Bellfield. It’s love, alright, an overwhelmingly passionate, hearts-beating-as-one, type of love, and of course – as in any good romance – it is interrupted by mistakes, incorrect assumptions, and the good if misplaced intentions of a couple of parents.
There has been much criticism of plots involving the “Big Mistake”, and some of it quite deserved. But in the skilled hands of Julia Quinn, that error never occurs here. Robert discovers his part in the mistake quite early on in this book, and the real delight is in watching both Robert and Victoria as they come to terms with the passion they shared seven years before in comparison to the people they are and the passion they share today.
For Robert, the transition is easy. He’s a guy, and he’s in love. No problems, right? Wrong. Victoria is a woman scorned (well, alright, not really, but awfully close), and has learned to be independent and like it! For her, the decision to allow Robert back into her life and her heart is much more complex – she must weigh her gains against what she perceives as possible losses, and this is difficult for her. Ms. Quinn has very aptly presented a real Regency heroine, in that Victoria is at first a victim of her times, and then the mistress of her times, using the restrictions placed on women to validate her independence. She is absolutely right in her beliefs, and in another novel, we might have viewed Robert as a shallow aristocrat, who thinks only with his manhood, not his brains. But here, Ms. Quinn paints Robert as a man possessed with a vision – his vision of his future, in which Victoria is front and center. Not once does he fail to consider what she’s going through, and not once does his faith in their future together waver.
A great couple, in a lovely story, with a vibrant ending, and some very funny scenes as well – an excellent Regency historical with a great feel for the period – can’t ask for more than that.