Lord Bradley has just learned a terrible secret, which, if exposed, will change his life forever. When he glimpses a figure on the grounds, he fears a spy or thief has overheard his devastating news. He is stunned to discover the intruder is a scrap of a woman with her throat badly injured. Fearing she will spread his secret, he gives the girl a post and confines her to his estate. As Olivia and Lord Bradley's secrets catch up with them, will their hidden pasts ruin their hope of finding love?
Comment: I've been interested in this book for a long time. This past September, I was given this as a birthday present and I was quite happy to finally have a book that probably would be one of those I'd never hurry to get but eventually would. I'm glad to have gotten it much sooner than I expected!
This book is focused on Olivia Keene, a young woman who is traveling to find a post as a teacher. The problem is that Olivia is actually running away from a situation that makes her both fearful and regretful and she only knows she needs to arrive at her destination so her mother can reach her later on.
On the way, Olivia stumbles upon a place that offers her a bit of help when she needs and before moving along, she decides to visit the grounds of a property setting things up for a party. Everything is beautiful but Olivia inadvertently hears a conversation she shouldn't. Before escaping the property fully, Olivia is captured and attacked and later on, saved. The responsible for the house then offers Olivia a post so she can keep quiet about the secret she heard but as the time goes by and new things happen, Olivia starts to be fond of everyone and even the lord of the house starts to become someone she cares about. But Olivia is running from a secret as well...
This is not the first book I read by the author but I think it became the one I liked best so far.
I really appreciated how rich and detailed this story seemed to be and how interested I felt through it all.
The plot isn't that unlikely to have been close to reality even if some details could be seen as a bit too imaginative.
What I liked best was how sweet and captivating the stay of Olivia at the new house looked like. She was only the help but she provided a very good aid to everyone. Her interactions with most characters were always interesting and each chapter seemed to have useful content.
I liked Olivia as well. As a child she would impress others with her math skill, encouraged by her father but one day things changed and Olivia has always had a different perspective on her relationship with her father because of that. How interesting it is to realize we can't truly rely in our childhood memories when it comes to what others feel as well, things change with time...
The relationship between Olivia and lord Bradley, her love interest, is cute. Nothing really happens except a kiss at the end, since this is an inspirational story. Obviously, however, we are supposed to focus on the rightness or the credibility of their feelings and the fact they don't embark on something before they have the certainty they are taking the right step. I liked their interactions and how small scenes and gestures implied a huge meaning every time they talked or thought about the other.
Lord Bradley has a complicated situation going on and I did feel for him, for the fact he was worried and wanted to do the right thing. The plot devices around him and his personality (because he was fair and wanted to make things right if needed) provided interesting conflicts and problems from being too easily solved or ignored. I liked the emotional aspect of this, and how the male protagonist had as much issues to solve as the heroine but he wasn't an "alpha type" trying to do things his own way. Again, an inspirational where the hero is meant to think about his attitude and so on, but the romance/emotional content was well balanced, I'd say.
There are some twists, I wouldn't say out of this world, but they were suitable for the plot. Other things not as much but nothing is ever perfect anyway. I particularly didn't appreciate how a certain issue ended up being explained but...
All in all, this was very good, entertaining, I had a great time reading. This makes me more eager to read the other titles by the author too, even those I wasn't thinking about getting.