Humphrey Wescott, Earl of Riverdale, has died, leaving behind a fortune and a scandalous secret that will forever alter the lives of his family—sending one daughter on a journey of self-discovery…
With her parents’ marriage declared bigamous, Camille Westcott is now illegitimate and without a title. Looking to eschew the trappings of her old life, she leaves London to teach at the Bath orphanage where her newly discovered half-sister lived. But even as she settles in, she must sit for a portrait commissioned by her grandmother and endure an artist who riles her every nerve.
An art teacher at the orphanage that was once his home, Joel Cunningham has been hired to paint the portrait of the haughty new teacher. But as Camille poses for Joel, their mutual contempt soon turns to desire. And it is only the bond between them that will allow them to weather the rough storm that lies ahead…
Ms. Balogh has pulled off a miracle–not only did she have me feeling empathy for Camille, but by the book’s end I actually liked her! (She was pretty prickly, to put it nicely, in book 1–Someone to Love and even in the early parts of this one I had a hard time not rolling my eyes at her…)
What helped early on was seeing her take over her half-sister’s (her emphasis) job as teacher at the orphanage and trying so hard and being so sure that she was failing at it. (She wasn’t; she was brilliant, but boy can I sympathize with that “I don’t have a clue what I’m doing; what if I scar these kids for life?” feeling that she had.) At the beginning I was in total sympathy with Joel, who saw Camille as an unfeeling drill sergeant who was trying to usurp her half-sister’s former position–watching her with her pupils, though, that began to change for both of us. I loved watching both of them come to respect and like each other as the story progressed; their transition from two people who wanted nothing to do with each other to friends to lovers was nicely paced and believable.
And that ending…it tugged on my heartstrings big time! I cannot wait for the rest of the Westcotts to get their stories!
Rating: 4 1/2 stars / A
I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.