My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Time taken to read - 1 day
Publisher - Mills & Boon
Pages - 288
Blurb from Goodreads
A forbidden attraction… A hidden desire!
Years ago, penniless Lorene Summerfield wed for duty, giving her siblings the chance to marry for love. But now the generous-hearted countess finds herself widowed…and the man she's loved in silence for years is falsely accused of her husband's murder!
Although he closed his heart to love long ago, the Earl of Penford has always found Lorene irresistible. Their newly ignited passion may be scandalous, but now he'll stop at nothing to clear his name and win Lorene's hand!
Set in the Eighteen hundreds women are demure, main focus is marriage and babies, matched to families dependent upon their dowry. Lorene will do anything for her siblings including sacrifice her own happiness to secure a future for them. Resented by the staff, thought to be a gold digger after marrying a wealthy older man and unable to escape her mothers past Lorene defies her husband to see her family. When he dies in suspicious circumstances, suspicion falls on the Earl of Penford, the man Lorene's husband accuses of having an affair with his wife. A small down, titles, separated by classes, society is very judgmental and Lorene just wants a quiet life when her past catches up with her bringing trouble, judgement and heartache.
It has been a long long time since I read Mills and Boon books, I loved them as a pre teen. This was brought to my attention with the Mills and Boons insider and just what I needed at this time. Set in the eighteen hundreds I generally don't prefer historical fiction but it works in this book. A genteel period where women and the times are very different from modern day society. Lorene has always been attracted to Dell (the Earl of Penford) but her choices have meant she could never allow him or anyone to know. With suspicion cast on Dell for murder Lorene needs to keep her distance but she has never felt more alone. Then the past caught up with Lorene and her family bringing its own problems, emotions and judgments from the small town.
Very well constructed, the flow goes nicely, kicking off with the lead up t and death of Lorene's husband that sets the path for all that follows. A book that very much looks at morals, societies attitudes, the defined classes, love, families and as with all Mills and Boons stories there is a sex scene or two. Lorene is one of a kind, strong, selfless, loyal, passionate, kind and caring to a fault, whilst her character is one to be praised there were moments when I wished she would be a little selfless and stand up to one or two folk. Overall a really good tale of love, morality, class distinctions, family and honour, just what I needed, 4/5 for me this time. This was my first time reading this author, I would certainly read her again! Thanks to Mills and Boon for providing me with an ARC of this title.