Lady Miranda Hawthorne acts every inch the lady, but inside she longs to be bold and carefree. Approaching spinsterhood in the eyes of society, she pours her innermost feelings out not in a diary but in letters to her brother's old school friend, the Duke of Marshington. Since she's never actually met the man she has no intention of ever sending the letters and is mortified when her brother's mysterious new valet, Marlow, mistakenly mails one of the letters to the unsuspecting duke.
Shockingly, this breach of etiquette results in a reply from the duke that soon leads to a lively correspondence. Insecurity about her previous lack of suitors soon becomes confusion as Miranda finds herself equally intrigued by Marlow, a man she has come to depend upon but whose behavior grows more suspicious by the day. As the secret goings-on at her family's estate come to light, one thing is certain: Miranda's heart is far from all that's at risk for the Hawthornes and those they love.
I loved this book! This is the second book by Kristi Ann Hunter I've read and I love love love her books. Sent in the Regency Era, this story is totally unique but reminded me of the writing style somewhat of Julie Klassen or Roseanna M. White. If you've read their books and have not picked up one of Ms Hunter's, don't hesitate to do so. Wonderful, fascinating, intriguing and funny!
Miranda Hawthorne is how I always think I would have been had I lived in that time and been of the wealthy class. So many rules to live by "A lady never ..." and everyone else making decisions for you. She is a fiery, passionate woman with definite opinions of her own, but she hides it well under a veneer of socially acceptable behavior as befitting her class and station.
The Hawthorne family, consisting of Miranda's two older brothers, a younger sister and their mother, is a fairly close knit clan although the eldest brother is quite a bit older and has been more of a father figure to the others since the sudden death of their father some years ago. Miranda became rather close to him because of a habit she began at the age of eight of writing to him while he was away at school. She told him all about her escapades and the lectures she received from their mother as a result but he never fully understood, so she began writing secretly to the friend he spoke of often that often seemed to be getting into trouble at school. These letters, however, were never to be mailed. They were just her form of journaling. This Duke of Marshington hasn't been seen among London society for a good nine years, and rumors abound that he is dead, so she's not quite as careful one night with a letter she's written to him and it's mailed off promptly by her elder brother's mysterious new valet! He claims to have gotten the address through her brother. This begins an interesting correspondence that brings some excitement into a life beginning to feel much too routine.
I don't want to go into anything else that happens because the twists in this story are part of what makes it fabulous. Like I said, I thoroughly enjoyed it and totally recommend it.
This book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group.