Former lovers become reluctant allies in this delightfully witty historical rom-com from the bestselling author of A Lady's Guide to Mischief and Mayhem—for fans of Evie Dunmore, Enola Holmes, and Netflix's Bridgerton!
England, 1867: As half of the writing duo behind England’s most infamous crime column, Miss Caroline Hardcastle has quite the scandalous reputation. It may have cost her a fiancé, but she would much rather bring attention to crimes against those ignored by society than worry about what the ton thinks of her.
After Caro’s dear friend is kidnapped, however, she has no choice but to work with Lord Valentine Thorn, the same man who broke her heart. Worse, when her actions put her father’s business at risk, a marriage of convenience may be her only solution . . . but can she trust Val to stand by her? Or will their past repeat itself?
Val—the new Viscount Wrackham—is in an untenable position: His father is demanding he find a respectable bride to secure the succession. Yet the only woman he’s ever loved, Miss Caroline Hardcastle, is notorious for behaving improperly. And she’s never forgiven him for his youthful transgressions, missteps made in the name of familial duty, but ones he still regrets to this day.
As they grow closer to unmasking the culprit, Val sees an opportunity to show Caro he’s a changed man. But can he convince her to give their love a second chance—before death does them part?
Collins follows A Lady's Guide to Mischief and Mayhem with a fun second chance romance between Miss Caroline "Caro" Hardcastle, a manufacturer's daughter, and Lord Valentine Thorn, the heir to a dukedom. Collins classifies her work as "historical romantic suspense," but there's little suspense and a minimum of romantic development here; it's more a workmanlike historical mystery with romance trappings. Caro, having ended a brief betrothal to Val four years earlier, is drawn into his orbit again when her dear friend and Val's cousin Frank's fianc e, Miss Effie Warrington, disappears and Frank falls under suspicion. The estranged couple fall into a squabbling collaboration to find Effie and exonerate her betrothed. Class snobbery spurred their breakup and continues to drive their present conflict: Effie is an actress and deemed unworthy by Val's family, just as Caro was. The mystery and romance plots unfold in expected tropes from this premise, and period atmosphere is noticeably thin. Still, Caro is feisty and Val is angstily ripe for reform, making for enjoyable banter and a handful of plainspoken confrontations that, if anachronistic, are nonetheless satisfying. Readers are in for a frothy romp. Agent: Holly Root, Root Literary.
I found their love story to be very cute. I loved Kate, Andrew, Caro and Val. But I can’t wait to see the romance between flora and langham in the next book if it does come out